Bald Eaglet #13-1478

June 14, 2013
August 30, 2013
Rescue Location
Jamestown Island, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Blown out of nest after storm
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On June 13, two fledgling Bald Eagles were found after they were blown out of their nest at Colonial National Historical Park on Jamestown Island. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries attempted to re-nest both birds without success. The eaglets were transported to the Wildlife Center of Virginia on June 14.

When the eaglets arrived, Dr. Dana Tedesco, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the birds. Bald Eaglet #13-1477 was quiet and not standing. A brief physical examination was performed; the eaglet became increasingly stressed. Dr. Dana gave the eagle subcutaneous fluids and placed the eaglet in the oxygen chamber for the evening. Blood work and radiographs will be performed after the bird is more stable. Bald Eaglet #13-1478 was bright, alert, and slightly dehydrated. The bird was placed into a crate in the Center’s holding room.

Additional information and updates will be available on Monday, June 17.

Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #13-1478 was released this morning at Jamestown Beach Park in Williamsburg, Virginia. The release location is right on the James River, and is within a mile of the young bird’s nest.

A crowd of about 110 people gathered to watch Wildlife Center President Ed Clark release the eagle. Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist Steve Living was in attendance; before the release, Steve look a few minutes to talk about Bald Eagles and their amazing conservation success story. This young bird was fitted with a GPS transmitter in late July 2013, and was going to be a part of a DGIF Bald Eagle tracking study. Earlier this morning, the Wildlife Center received some news from the tracking company, indicating that there was an issue with the transmitter battery. Because the battery was not fully charged before it was placed on the eagle, and the battery did not receive enough direct sunlight after it was placed on the bird, the likelihood of it correctly working was greatly diminished. The transmitter was removed from the bird prior to release.

Once everyone was in place, Ed tossed the young Bald Eagle into the air. The release attendees watched as the bird flew up and over a stand of trees and out of sight.


Bald Eagle #13-1478 Release

Photo property of Bob Mislan:

Photos from Linda Vetter:

Bald Eagle #13-1478 Release


Extended Version of Bald Eagle release:

Quick clip of release:

Bald Eagle Release in the News

"Rescued Eagle Release at Jamestown Went Smoothly," The Virginia Gazette

"Wildlife Center Releases Bald Eagle," WAVY-10

"Pictures: Rescued Eaglet Release," The Daily Press

"Eaglet Rescued from Jamestown Island Released into Wild at Jamestown Beach Park (w/ Video)," Williamsburg Yorktown Daily

"Photos: Rescued Bald Eagle Released," The Virginian-Pilot

Bald Eagle #13-1478 has been flying much better over the past week – the eagle flies the length of the enclosure about 12 to 15 times during each daily exercise session. The rehabilitation staff have noted that the eagle is a strong flier, and gains height well when flying. The veterinary team drew blood from the eagle on August 26 for analysis; after examination by diagnostic intern Kelli and approval from Dr. Rich, the bird was cleared for release.

The eagle will be released at Jamestown Beach Park [2205 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg] on Friday, August 30 at 11:00 a.m. The release is free and open to the public. Please spread the word – and if you’d like to attend, simply email and let us know you’re planning on attending!

After the release, don’t forget to check back into the Center’s website – earlier this summer, the young eagle was fitted with a GPS transmitter, as a part of an ongoing study by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The Center will be able to check on the whereabouts of the eagle and will post updates on the website.

Bald Eagle #13-1478 has continued to improve in flight during daily exercise sessions, though the rehabilitation staff feel that the bird is still not flying well enough for release. The rehabilitation staff will continue to assess the bird each day.

Bald Eaglet #13-1478 is proving to be challenging to exercise; the young eagle sometimes tends to overshoot the perches when flying, and has bumped into the wall and sustained mild carpal injuries.

For the past week, the eagle has had a mild wing droop, and hasn’t been as well-flighted as it was at the end of July. This could be due to the large, protective bumpers on its wings – while these may be restricting some of the eagle’s flight, they are also protecting the eagle’s “wrists”.

On August 7, the rehabilitation staff moved the Bald Eagle next door to the A1 flight pen – this enclosure is slightly longer than A2, and the staff hope that a change of scenery and some slightly different perches might encourage the eagle to fly more. The staff will carefully assess the eagle’s flight over the next week.

Bald Eagle #13-1478 has been flying well since its formal exercise program began on July 11. The rehabilitation staff report that the bird typically flies an average of 10-12 lengths of the enclosure during each daily exercise session.

On July 24, the young eagle was fitted with a GPS transmitter. DGIF Biologist Jeff Cooper has been banding and fitting transmitters on Bald Eaglets again this year, as a part of a larger ongoing research study in which 90 Bald Eagles will receive transmitters [30 nestlings, 30 sub-adults, and 30 adults]. Eaglet #13-1478 and its sibling were too small for a transmitter fitting when they were originally banded in their nest at Jamestown. This month, Jeff was looking for an opportunity to train a new student on eagle transmitter fittings – and this seemed like a great opportunity! The GPS transmitter is the same kind that was placed on Bald Eagle NX in 2011. The Center will have access to Bald Eagle #13-1478’s tracking information and will share it on the Center’s website. For additional information on the transmitter, read our frequently asked questions.

If all continues to go well with the eagle’s flight conditioning, the staff anticipate that the eaglet could be released in early August.

Bald Eaglet #13-1478 has been eating well for the past week and a half. On June 26, the bird was moved to A2, one of the largest flight pens at the Wildlife Center. The staff will give the eaglet some additional time to gain weight and grow up – and then will begin flight conditioning the bird later this month.

The young eagle currently has a roommate – non-releasable Bald Eagle #11-0230. The two can be seen occasionally on the Center’s Critter Cam!

Bald Eaglet #13-1478 has started to eat on its own – the rehabilitation staff are providing a diet of chopped rat once a day. The eaglet weighs 3.06 kgs. The veterinary team performed a complete blood count on June 19; the bird is slightly anemic, though this is common with young birds. Because all other results were within normal limits, the eaglet was move to an outdoor C-pen, next to Bald Eagle #12-0001.

Bald Eaglet #13-1477 remained housed in the Center’s oxygen chamber on the morning of June 15; early that afternoon, the eaglet died. Dr. Dana performed a necropsy on the eaglet later that same day; there were no significant findings. Dr. Dana suspects that the stress of the events surrounding the eaglet’s admission may have played a role. Capture myopathy, a metabolic condition which can affect many species of animals, is commonly associated with pursuit, capture, restraint, and transportation of animals. The Wildlife Center often sees capture myopathy with newly admitted White-tailed Deer, though this condition can affect any species, and is most commonly noted in very old and very young animals. The eaglet’s death also could’ve been caused by an undiagnosed internal injury that did not appear on necropsy. Tissue samples were sent to an outside laboratory for additional diagnostics.

Bald Eaglet #13-1478 remains bright and alert, though Dr. Dana noted that the eaglet is quieter and hangs its head after handling. This reaction seems to be typical for a young eaglet of this age. The young bird has not yet eaten the food offered to it at the Wildlife Center; the staff will be hand-feeding the bird until it begins to eat on its own. Radiographs were taken on June 16; no injuries were noted.