Bald Eagle #23-3789

November 1, 2023
December 13, 2023
Rescue Location
Norfolk, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Intraspecies conflict
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On October 31, two Bald Eagles were observed fighting one another above an area of open water in Norfolk, Virginia. After becoming entangled in mid-air, both birds fell into the water and were unable to take flight. The eagles were rescued by permitted local wildlife rehabilitator Lisa Barlow and staff at Tidewater Wildlife Rescue and were taken to Midway Veterinary Hospital for stabilizing care before being transferred to the Wildlife Center of Virginia the following day.

One of the eagles – Bald Eagle #23-3788 – was successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild at Berkeley Plantation on November 22.

The other eagle, also an adult male, was designated as Bald Eagle #23-3789 upon admission. During his intake exam, the eagle was bright, alert, and in good overall body condition. Bruising was noted on the inside of the right wing, and lacerations were seen on both feet. Staff at Midway Veterinary Hospital had previously applied sutures to two wounds on the eagle’s right hip, which were found to be clean and intact.

Radiographs did not reveal any fractures, but small amount of air was seen between the eagle’s heart and liver, and soft tissue – likely a result of the physical trauma associated with his circumstance of rescue. A lead test came back with a positive reading of 0.19 ppm lead – a subclinical level, but still able to cause significant health issues.

That same day, the veterinary team started the bird on a course of anti-inflammatory and pain medications, antibiotics, anti-parasitics to treat feather lice found on examination, and oral chelation therapy to remove the lead before placing the eagle in the Center’s indoor Hold area.

Bald Eagle #23-3789’s condition stabilized quickly, and he was moved to a small, outdoor transitional enclosure on November 3. Several repeat blood tests during the following weeks showed a drastic decline in the amount of lead within the eagle’s system, and the veterinary staff determined he was ready to transition to an outdoor flight pen on November 22 and begin a flight conditioning regimen.

On November 26, Rehabilitation Team Lead Mac noted that his “form is great in flight, wings even, legs tucked and glides often. Height/lift were good, easily able to get lift up to perches. Good feathers, quiet.”

On December 10, Wildlife Rehabilitation Supervisor Alex Olvera determined that his physical stamina had greatly improved, and that Bald Eagle #23-3789 was ready for life back in the wild! Bloodwork performed during routine treatment on December 4 returned within normal limits, officially clearing this eagle for release.

Join the Wildlife Center of Virginia at Taps Field, Berkeley Plantation (Charles City, Virginia) for Bald Eagle #23-3789’s release back into the wild!

Wildlife Center President Ed Clark will tentatively release the eagle at Taps Field, Berkeley Plantation on Wednesday, December 13 at 1:00 p.m. Please check the Center’s Event Calendar page for possible updates during the next two days. The release is open to the public; please let us know if you’re coming by emailing Please indicate that you will be attending the Berkeley Plantation release along with the number of people in your party.

Please visit the Berkeley Plantation website for general directions. Alternatively, use Google/MapQuest to obtain the best directions from your location to the Berkeley address:

12602 Harrison Landing Road
Charles City, Virginia 23030

There is a directional sign at the front of Berkeley Plantation’s driveway. Rather than taking a slight right onto Harrison Landing (which leads to the main Berkeley Plantation mansion), bear left toward Westover Plantation. Take an immediate right onto a gravel driveway [if you pass the sign that notes that Westover Plantation is two miles ahead, you have missed the turn to Berkeley].

Follow the gravel road straight back for 1.1 miles. The parking lot will be on your right.

The release will take place rain or shine. If storms [with lightning] threaten the release plans, we’ll post an update here and will email those who have sent their RSVP.

You can help support our work with native wildlife.

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


Patient Updates

On December 13, after a little more than one month of treatment, Bald Eagle #23-3789 was released back into the wild at the Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia. Lisa Barlow, who provided supportive care for the bird prior to its admission at the Wildlife Center, was able to attend the release and joined a crowd of about 65 people to watch the bird return home.

Front-desk coordinator Grace commented that the eagle “flew BEAUTIFULLY and got some really good height. Looks like she is headed back to Newport News ‘cause that’s the direction she took off in!”

Stay tuned for more videos and photos of the release as they come in!