Bald Eagle #16-2504

December 10, 2016
January 18, 2017
Rescue Location
King George County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Possible fight with another eagle
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On December 10, a Bald Eagle — likely a fourth-year bird — was found down in a frozen swamp at Caledon State Park in King George County. A park ranger was able to capture the bird, and it was admitted later that same day to the Wildlife Center.

Dr. Peach, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, examined the female eagle when she arrived. The bird was laying down in the transport crate and was able to be picked up easily. The eagle was damp, though didn’t appear to have any fractures; the only significant injury found was a deep puncture wound on the left side of her back. Radiographs revealed increased lucency in the chest cavity, suggesting free air within the body cavity. It’s likely that the puncture, possibly due to a fight with another eagle, followed by a fall to the ground, caused the eagle to sustain ruptured air sacs.

Bloodwork was within normal limits; a lead analysis showed a lead level of 0.153 ppm, which indicates that the bird was exposed to lead at some point, though not at a high enough level to warrant treatment. Dr. Peach cleaned and bandaged the deep puncture mark, started a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, and gave subcutaneous fluids to the eagle.

The following day, the eagle was bright, alert and perching. The deep puncture wound had some mild discharge; Dr. Peach carefully cleaned and re-bandaged the wound. The bird will continue current medications, and another lead test will be performed later this week.

Eagle in the News

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Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #16-2504 was released on January 18 at Caledon State Park. The release went very well; after Wildlife Center President Ed Clark tossed the bird in the air, the bird flew down a field, high in the sky, until she disappeared behind some trees. As Ed Clark often says at eagle releases, "It doesn’t get any better than that!"


Photos by Mike Marra:


Eagle Release in the News

WATCH: Bald eagle rescued from icy pond released into wild, WRIC-TV

Eagle rescued at Caledon in King George released in front of well-wishers, The Free Lance-Star

Bald Eagle #16-2504 has been flying well during the past two weeks. On Thursday, January 12, the veterinary team drew blood from the eagle for a pre-release analysis. Results were within normal limits and the eagle was cleared for release.

The eagle will be released back at Caledon State Park in King George County on Wednesday, January 18 at 12 noon. The release is free and open to the public; those attending are asked to RSVP to Attendees should plan on meeting at the Visitor’s Center.

The release will occur rain or shine; if heavy rains are forecasted, the Center will make an announcement early next week if the release needs to be postponed.

Bald Eagle #16-2504 has been doing well during the past two weeks. The eagle was moved to flight pen A3 on December 21 so that the bird could be exercised daily.

The rehabilitation staff report that the eagle is currently flying an average of 10 passes during each session. Dr. Ernesto checked on the bird on January 2 and noted that the eagle was quite difficult to catch — the bird apparently likes to fly "straight up" in the flight pen, away from humans. The eagle will continue to be exercised during the next couple of weeks with the goal of improving its stamina.

Bald Eagle #16-2504 continued to eat well during the weekend and was bright, alert, and feisty. Dr. Peach was pleased with how the eagle’s puncture wound was healing, and on Saturday, December 17, moved the bird to a small outdoor enclosure.

Within the next week, staff hope to move the eagle to a larger flight pen enclosure.

Bald Eagle #16-2504 has been healing well this week and the puncture wound on the bird’s back is forming a nice scab. The bird was unwilling to eat on her own at first, but on December 14, started eating on her own.

The course of antibiotics will end on Saturday, December 17, and as long as the wound is still healing, the veterinary team will move the eagle to a small outdoor space for continued care.