Bald Eagle #18-2440

August 15, 2018
September 28, 2018
Rescue Location
Westmoreland County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Fight with another eagle
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On August 14, a private citizen in Westmoreland County noticed a Bald Eagle grounded on a rocky area of the Potomac River with what appeared to be an injured wing, possibly the result of a fight with another eagle. The eagle was captured that day, and was transported to Wild Bunch Wildlife Rehabilitation. Wildlife rehabilitator Diana O’Connor transferred the eagle to the Wildlife Center the following afternoon.

Bald Eagle #18-2440 was quiet, alert, and standing on arrival. Dr. Ingrid, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, performed an initial exam and found that the immature male eagle was dehydrated, in poor body condition, and infested with lice. A significant amount of dried blood was found near the right axillary (armpit) area, and a closer examination under anesthesia revealed a deep puncture wound on the eagle’s triceps and bruising across the pectoral muscles. Radiographs and an ophthalmic exam were unremarkable, and blood work revealed a lead level of 0.041 ppm, indicating the eagle had ingested lead at some point, but would not require clinical treatment.

The veterinary staff cleaned and flushed the eagle’s wounds, closed the puncture site with three sutures, and applied a bandage and body wrap to immobilize the right wing. Fluids and anti-parasitics were administered, along with pain medication and antibiotics.

The eagle was placed in the Center’s indoor holding room, and veterinary staff monitored and cleaned the bird’s wounds, applied clean bandages as needed, and provided daily supportive care during the following week. The eagle’s injuries and overall condition steadily improved, and after removing the bird’s bandages it was transferred to a small outdoor enclosure on August 27. Although daily indoor treatments are no longer necessary, Center staff will regularly monitor the eagle’s condition before considering transferring the bird to a larger flight pen.

Based on the severity of the puncture wound and its closeness to important nerves in the axillary area, prognosis is guarded. The staff will need to carefully assess if the eagle can regain full flight capabilities.

During the next week, Bald Eagle #18-2440 will be the subject of a special eagle research project; the Center is participating in this project with researchers from Purdue University.

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Your donation will help provide care to this injured Bald Eagle and approximately 4,000 other patients that the Wildlife Center will help this year.


Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #18-2440 was successfully released on Friday, September 28 at Stratford Hall in front of a crowd of about 100 people. The eagle flew off and landed in a tree; after getting his bearings for a few minutes, he took off and circled a few times before flying out of sight.

Photos by Linda Vetter: 







During the past week, Bald Eagle #18-2440 has been flying very well during daily exercise sessions. Wildlife rehabilitator Brie assessed the bird’s flight and determined that the eagle is ready for release.

Ed Clark, the President of the Wildlife Center, will release the eagle on Friday, September 28 at 2:00 p.m. at Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County. The release is free and open to the public. Individuals who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to the Center at

The address for Stratford Hall is 483 Great House Road, Stratford VA 22558. The eagle will be released on the oval in front of the Great House; Stratford Hall staff will direct release participants to parking areas.

Bald Eagle #18-2440 has been flying very well during the past two weeks, and is able to complete an average of 12 or more passes perch-to-perch during daily exercise sessions. The rehabilitation team reports that the bird has great height and form while flying, and bumped the eagle up to a goal of 15+ passes during each exercise session this week. Dr. Karra examined the bird’s sutures during a routine feet and feather check on September 17; the sutures were found to be clean and intact.

If the juvenile eagle continues to fly at this level for the next week or so, the staff will begin to consider release and contact the state eagle biologist to inquire about GPS transmitters.

During the past week, Bald Eagle #18-2440 has been doing well and seems to be making a steady recovery. On September 6, the eagle was brought indoors and anesthetized to be the subject of a special project with researchers from Purdue University. Following the testing, veterinary staff closely examined the sutures used to close the eagle’s puncture wound on August 15. The surgical site was found to be intact and free of discharge or swelling, and veterinary intern Dr. Karra cleared the bird to be moved to a larger outdoor enclosure that same day.

After an uneventful recovery from anesthesia, the bird was transferred to one of the Center’s large outdoor flight pens [A3]. Rehabilitation staff plan to begin a daily exercise regimen on September 7 to build the eagle’s strength and stamina, and will continue to monitor Bald Eagle #18-2440 in the upcoming weeks.

Wildlife Center Critter Cam watchers may have a chance to see this eagle live on camera in the coming days!