Bald Eagle #20-3608

November 21, 2020
March 24, 2021
Rescue Location
Accomack County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Humeral Fracture
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On November 20, an officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discovered an injured Bald Eagle in the woods in Accomack County. The eagle was captured by a local permitted wildlife rehabilitator, and taken to an animal hospital for radiographs, which revealed a closed left humeral fracture.

Upon admission, the bird was quiet but alert and responsive.  Dr. Sarah, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, decided not to sedate the eagle for a more extensive exam due to its slightly poor mentation until the following day. Dr. Sarah bandaged the bird’s wing to stabilize the fracture and started a course of pain medication.

On November 23, Dr. Karra and Dr. Cam sedated the bird to surgically repair its wing. Dr. Karra reported that the humeral fracture was a tricky fix, but they’re happy with their repair and are hopeful for this bird’s recovery.

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Patient Updates

Ed Clark, Co-founder and President of the Wildlife Center, drove Bald Eagle #20-3608 to the Eastern Shore of Virginia for release on March 24. He was met by a small group of people that initially helped rescue this bird.

Ed reported back to other Center staff about the release saying, “When I finally launched him, he exploded out of my arms and flew more forcefully than any eagle I have ever released; he took off like a rocket!! He flew without any suggestion of lingering wing issues, and just kept going until he was out of sight! There is no question in my mind that he was back to 100%.”

Eagle Release in the News: 

Eastern Shore Wildlife Rescue Team Reunites for Eagle Release, Eastern Shore Post

During the past two weeks, Bald Eagle #20-3608 has maintained its stamina during daily exercise in preparation for release. Veterinary staff took pre-release bloodwork for this eagle, and results were within normal limits. Wildlife Center President Ed Clark will be releasing the eagle back into the wild in Accomack County on Wednesday, March 24. The release will be limited in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions.

During the past month, Bald Eagle #20-3608 has made enormous improvement. The bird’s daily exercise goal was increased to 20+ passes a day, and he was moved to A3, the Center’s largest flight pen which is specifically designed for eagles. Rehabilitation staff say that this bird flies very well, is able to glide, and eats well, though occasionally still has an intermittent left wing droop.

The team will continue to closely monitor the bird’s daily exercise, but at this point, anticipate that the bird will be able to be returned to the wild soon.

Watch this bird on the Center’s Critter Cams here.

During the past month, Bald Eagle #20-3680 has been showing solid signs of recovery.

The small wound on the eagle’s wing near the pin site healed without complication, and the protective bandages were removed on January 4 following a set of repeat radiographs. After the veterinary staff determined the bird would no longer need daily hands-on medical care, the eagle was transferred to a small outdoor enclosure on January 12. In this space, Center rehabilitation staff were able to observe the eagle each day, but restrict the bird’s level of physical activity as it acclimated to an outdoor environment.

On January 28, Bald Eagle #20-3608 was transitioned into A1 — one of the Center’s large open-air flight pens — and began a daily exercise regimen on February 2. Currently, the rehabilitation staff encourage the bird to fly no more than five passes of the length of the enclosure. The eagle is reported to be mostly hopping and flapping, unable to achieve significant lift at this time. The rehabilitation staff will gradually increase the amount of physical conditioning over time, keeping a close eye on this patient in the meantime.

Over the past few weeks, Bald Eagle #20-3608 has been brighter and more alert and eating well.

The Veterinary staff had been doing physical therapy with this bird in the weeks following her surgery, and her wing has gained greater range of motion as a result. Unfortunately, vet staff noticed that this bird developed a small wound near the pin site on her wing. Vet staff is cleaning the wound daily, and has begun to wrap the bird’s wing to ensure this wound heals in a clean environment.

On December 29, veterinary staff took radiographs of the wing to examine the pin site. Although the pin in the bone looks appropriately positioned to continue supporting the healing humerus, Dr. Cam noticed that there is a bit of bone degeneration around the pin that may cause issues in the future.

In the two weeks following Bald Eagle #20-3608’s surgery, the eagle has been quietly healing in the Center’s holding room. The eagle continues to eat well and gain weight, although veterinary staff have noted that this bird dislikes fish heads. Dr. Cam, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, reports that the pin sites on the bird’s wing look good, and he is pleased with the animal’s progress.

Dr. Cam hopes to remove the pins on December 14 and begin physical therapy and laser therapy the following day.