Bald Eagle #20-0172

March 11, 2020
June 19, 2020
Rescue Location
Gloucester County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Puncture Wounds, Abrasions
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On March 9, an adult female Bald Eagle was found on the ground in Gloucester County. The bird was rescued and taken to the Yorktown Animal Emergency Center. Two days later, on March 11, this bird was transferred to the Wildlife Center.

Upon arrival, Dr. Karra anesthetized the eagle for a physical examination. The eagle had wounds on her feet, legs, and torso. Some of these wounds were  puncture wounds; Dr. Karra suspected that they were inflicted by another eagle or raptor. Other wounds were more consistent with road rash. Blood was drawn for analysis, and Dr. Karra found that  this bird was also suffering from lead toxicosis.

All of the bird’s wounds were cleaned, treated, and bandaged. Additionally, the eagle was given an antibiotic, and began her lead toxicosis treatment. The eagle was placed in the Center’s Holding room, so that his condition could be closely monitored by veterinary staff.

On the March 18, the pectoral puncture wounds were debrided [cleaned of old, dead tissue] and the largest wound was sutured. Prior to the procedure, the bird was noted to be bright, alert, responsive, and feisty, all good signs when treating a raptor with these types of injuries. She is also still receiving medicine for her lead toxicosis, and will receive this medication twice a day until at least March 22.

Your donation will help this eagle, as well as the many other animals that we treat at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. 

Patient Updates

Friday’s Bald Eagle release was a great success — Bald Eagle #20-0172 returned to the wild. The eagle’s rescuers were able to attend the event and recall the initial rescue of the bird back in March 2020.

Photos by Barb Melton: 




Bald Eagle #20-0172 has been flying well during the past few weeks; the bird has gained strength and stamina, and the rehabilitation staff felt that the eagle is ready again for life in the wild. The veterinary team took pre-release bloodwork; results were within normal limits, and the eagle was cleared for release.

The eagle will be returned to her rescue location on Friday, June 19 — just in time for Bald Eagle Day on Saturday! Because of restrictions and safety procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release will not be open to the public. The staff will share photos and videos as soon as they’re able.

Bald Eagle #20-0172 is doing well in A3, currently serving as the role model for four young Bald Eaglets! The adult eagle is still exercised daily in preparation for release; currently the bird is flying an average of 8-14 passes each day. Overall, her flight is good, though the rehabilitation staff note that she needs more improvement on her stamina prior to release.

Bald Eagle #20-0172 is no longer displaying any signs of her previous mouth plaques, and is continuing to regain her strength and stamina in our large flight pen. Rehabilitator Shannon Mazurowski that she is flying easily, and able to gain good height as well as landing successfully on moving perches.

Along with returning to full strength to return to the wild, this eagle also started acting as a role model to two fledgling Bald Eagles recently admitted to the Center when the trio was moved to flight pen A3 this past week. Although separated by a barrier from the adult eagle, the two young eagles are able to watch as #20-0172 eats, flies, vocalizes, and interacts with people, and in this way, she is helping to teach these eaglets how to be wild.

Check out these three eagles on Critter Cam 1!

Bald Eagle #20-0172 is doing much better! The plaques in her mouth have resolved, and she no longer has parasites. On April 21, the eagle was moved to A1, one of the Center’s largest flight pens. The eagle is now participating in rehabilitative exercises to gain strength and stamina for her eventual release back into the wild. Although our rehabilitators note that she shows signs of fatigue, her overall stamina is improving day-by-day.

Bald Eagle #20-0172 has developed new issues within the past week. She has no longer been eating, and upon examination, the veterinary team noticed that the eagle had developed a white plaque in her mouth, which could be caused by larval cysts. After further testing, unidentified larval nematodes were found in this eagle’s feces; the veterinarians prescribed a course of anti-parasite medication. This eagle remains in her outdoor enclosure, and will hopefully respond well to the new treatment.

Bald Eagle #20-0172 is recovering well under the diligent care of the hospital staff. Dr. Karra has noted that the eagle’s wounds are healing well, with scabbing on the pectoral puncture wounds. The lead levels in the eagle’s blood have dropped from .008 to .0059 parts per million. Dr. Karra also pointed out that the bird remains "BARF" (Bright, Alert, Responsive, and Feisty) which is the ideal behavior and condition for an eagle.

On March 25, #20-0172 was moved outside. This means that the bird’s recovery is going well and that the healing process can continue outdoors in our more spacious C-pens.