Bald Eagle #19-1666

June 17, 2019
July 26, 2019
Rescue Location
King George County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

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On June 15, a mature Bald Eagle was found down on the ground fighting with another eagle at the King George County landfill. The eagle was rescued and taken to the Wild Bunch Wildlife Rehabilitation for treatment. The eagle was banded and was wearing a transmitter, which was reported to Conservation Science Global, Inc.

The eagle was transported to the Wildlife Center on June 17; Dr. Karra, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the eagle when she arrived. Dr. Karra found that the eagle was bright and alert, and was in good body condition. There were no signs of ocular injury or deficits and no wounds or fractures were found. Radiographs revealed a few small metallic fragments in the eagle’s stomach, along with a thin metal wire.

A lead test revealed a level of 0.143 ppm; this is considered a “subclinical” level, meaning that treatment is not typically indicated. However, with the presence of the small metallic objects, the veterinary team will repeat the lead test in a few days to ensure the value isn’t increasing. Dr. Karra could not find anything significant that would explain the eagle’s inability to fly away; it’s possible that the fight with the other eagle caused a mild amount of trauma that led to soft tissue injury.

The eagle will be carefully monitored for any additional issues and will be evaluated in a flight pen if she continues to do well.

The executive director of Conservation Science Global is someone with whom Center staff communicate about transmitters on Bald Eagles; she was able to share that the eagle was fitted with a transmitter at Fort A.P. Hill [near Bowling Green, VA] in March 2015. The female eagle was four-years-old at the time.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this Bald Eagle … and all of the patients admitted in 2019. Please help!

Patient Updates

Wildlife Center President Ed Clark release Bald Eagle #19-1666 today at Caledon State Park in front of a crowd of about 120 people. The release location and weather were perfect – and the eagle circled the crowd before flying off out of sight.

Photos by Barb Melton: 

Photos by Mike Marra:

Bald Eagle #19-1666 is ready for release! After additional exercise and pre-release blood work, the veterinary and rehabilitation staff declared that this eagle was ready to be returned to the wild. At this point, the state eagle biologist does not have any available transmitters, so the eagle will be released without one on Friday, July 26 at 11:00 a.m. at Caledon State Park [11617 Caledon Rd, King George, VA 22485].

Wildlife Center President Ed Clark will be releasing the eagle; the release is free and open to the public. If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Those planning on attending should meet at the Caledon Visitor Center.

And stay tuned for more information about a second eagle release – Bald Eagle #19-1560 is also ready to release and the staff is just coordinating a date and time with a location within the county in which the eagle was rescued.

Bald Eagle #19-1666 has been doing well in the A3 flight pen during the past couple of weeks. The rehabilitation team notes that the eagle has been flying well during daily exercise when they have been able to effectively exercise her; the recent high heat and humidity combined with the presence of four eagles in the flight space have been challenging! Wildlife rehabilitator Kelsey feels that the eagle is flying well, and given no substantial injuries were noted on admission, thinks that the Bald Eagle can soon be released. She’s coordinating with state eagle biologist Jeff Cooper to put a new GPS transmitter back on the eagle prior to release.

Bald Eagle #19-1666 finished her course of oral lead treatment last week and had a follow-up blood draw and lead analysis test on June 29. Results came back “low”, indicating that the oral medication had successfully treated the small amount of lead in the bird’s system. The eagle was moved to the A3 flight pen on June 30, and joined fellow Bald Eagles #19-0031, #19-1013, and #19-1678.

Bald Eagle #19-1666 has been increasingly feisty since her admission; the eagle is very bitey and difficult to hold during daily treatments! A follow-up lead test revealed a slightly decreasing lead level of 0.134 ppm.

After recent discussion, the veterinarians decided to administer an oral lead treatment for birds with a “subclinical” level of lead. The oral treatment is easier on a bird’s kidneys than the injectable chelation therapy that “clinical” lead birds receive and should further help the recovery of eagles at the Center.

After the oral treatment is finished, the bird will move to the A3 flight enclosure.