Bald Eagle #18-0086

February 15, 2018
March 23, 2018
Rescue Location
Westmoreland County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Internal trauma
Former Patient
Patient photo

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On February 15, a private citizen was walking to work when she saw a Bald Eagle fall from a tree near Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County. The bird hopped around on the ground but was unable to fly; a conservation police officer was able to capture the bird and took it to a wildlife rehabilitator before the eagle was transferred to the Wildlife Center. An employee at Stratford Hall mentioned that she heard an eagle the night before, possibly fighting with another eagle.

Dr. Monica, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the eagle on arrival. The female eagle was bright and alert, but had a low heart rate and an increased respiratory rate. The eagle had bruising on her keel and dried blood around her nares [nostrils]. Dr. Monica also noted some superficial abrasions on the bird’s feet as well as an old bumblefoot lesion on the bird’s left foot.

Radiographs indicated evidence of internal trauma as well as a mildly enlarged heart; no fractures were noted. Dr. Monica gave the eagle fluids, anti-inflammatories, and a dose of atropine to help increase the bird’s low heart rate. The eagle was placed in a crate in the Center’s holding room for the night.

In the days following, the bird’s heart rate stabilized; it’s likely that the low rate on admission was due to trauma. On February 20, the eagle was moved to a small outdoor enclosure for observation.

Your donation helps to provide for the specialized care for this Bald Eagle, as well as the 2,500 animals that are admitted to the Center annually.

Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #18-0086 was successfully released today at Stratford Hall in Stratford, Virginia in front of a crowd of about 200 people. Wildlife Center President Ed Clark greeted the release attendees and shared some information about the Center, Bald Eagles, and this particular eagle’s rehabilitation story. Ed tossed the bird into the air, and the eagle flew in a straight line toward a nearby tree line and out of sight.

The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries live-streamed the release: 


On the count of three … 

Photos from Roberta Sonnino: 

Bald Eagle #18-0086 has been flying very well during the past couple of weeks; wildlife rehabilitator Brie determined that the bird is in good condition, and ready to return to the wild! A pre-release blood analysis was performed on Monday, March 19 and the bird was cleared for release.

The Center had planned on fitting this eagle with a GPS transmitter, but due to a heavy spring snow, the transmitter fitting was canceled on Wednesday.

The eagle will be released on Friday, March 23 at Stratford Hall, where the bird was initially rescued. The release will take place at 12 noon and is free and open to the public; those planning on attending should RSVP to Attendees should meet at the Stratford Hall Visitors Center.

Bald Eagle #18-0086 has been flying well during daily exercise sessions; on March 9, the rehabilitation team increased the goal for the number of flights to 15 passes or more. So far, the eagle has been doing well. Daily exercise will continue to ensure that the eagle has strong flight and adequate stamina.

Wildlife rehabilitator Brie reached out to the VDGIF eagle biologist to check on the availability of GPS transmitters; the biologist would like to fit this bird with one prior to release. If the eagle continues to fly well, Brie will plan to fit the bird with a transmitter later this month.

Bald Eagle #18-0086 has been doing very well during daily exercise; the rehabilitation staff bumped up his daily requirement to 5-10 passes from end-to-end in the A1 flight enclosure. They will continue to increase the requirements for exercise each week until the eagle is making 15 passes end-to-end for several days in a row.

During the past week, Bald Eagle #18-0086 was doing well in the small outdoor enclosure. On February 26, rehabilitator Brie moved the bird into a larger flight pen [A1]. Brie reported that the eagle flew well when first released into the pen.

On February 27, staff started eagle #18-0086 on a daily exercise plan; the bird flew well during the first exercise session, but was wobbly during flight. The eagle will need to flying progressively better (with more stamina, height, and stability) during the coming weeks before it can be assessed for release.

Because the eagle is progressing quickly, and because the eagle’s initial injuries were not severe, Brie hopes that this patient can be a “quick turnaround”, with a release early this spring.