Bald Eaglets #14-0649 and #14-0650

May 13, 2014
August 20, 2014
Rescue Location
Chincoteague Island, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Nest destroyed
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On May 12, two young eaglets were found down on the ground in Chincoteague, Virginia, on the Eastern Shore. A biologist from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries assessed the situation – the birds’ nest blew down after a storm, and was unable to be restored. The biologist estimated that the two eagles are about two weeks away from fledging. The eaglets were transported to a permitted rehabilitator for the night, and transported to the Wildlife Center by DGIF the following day.

Dr. Rich Sim, the Center’s veterinary fellow, examined the two young eagles after they arrived. No significant injuries were found on physical exam or radiographs, and no significant level of lead was found in their blood analysis. Bald Eagle #14-0649 weighed 4.16 kg; Bald Eaglet #14-0650 weighed 3.7 kg.

The eaglets were placed in the “tower” portion of the A3 flight pen. In the tower, the young eagles have a nest and several branches, as well as a view into the main flight area of the flight pen. They are able to see Bald Eagle patient #14-0380. As the eaglets grow and begin branching and flapping, the tower doors will be opened so that the two birds can fledge into the main flight area of the enclosure.

The birds will be fed a diet of chopped rats, mice, and fish.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to these Bald Eaglets …and to the 2,600 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year. 

Patient Updates

On August 17, Bald Eagle #14-0649 flew into the ceiling of the flight pen during exercise, causing a laceration to its scalp and loss of feathers.

The veterinary team examined the bird in the hospital and performed radiographs to determine if the bird’s accident caused injury beyond the superficial damage to the scalp.

No abnormalities were discovered on radiographs. The veterinarians monitored the bird overnight and returned the eagle to the A-pens on August 18.

Bloodwork performed on the morning of August 19 was normal, and the eagle appears bright and alert. Though visible, the scalp wound does not require continued treatment, and the anticipated release on August 20 will not be affected.

On Monday, August 11, the veterinary team caught up Bald Eaglet #14-0650 from flight pen A3. The eagle had an additional set of radiographs taken to recheck the condition of its injured shoulder. Dr. Helen, the Center’s veterinary fellow, was pleased to see improvements on the radiographs – while the injury is still healing, the shoulder appears to be less inflamed.

The eagle was returned to A3, and the rehabilitation staff opened the curtain partitions in the enclosure to give the eagle access to the entire enclosure. The young eagle quickly flew to a high swinging perch. The team will continue to monitor the eagle’s behavior in the coming weeks.

On May 23, eaglets #14-0649 and #14-0650 fledged! The eaglets flew from the tower to the ground of the A3 flight pen.

In the past week, the eaglets have been learning to fly to higher perches in the enclosure and have been perching near the adult eagle in the flight pen [#14-0261].

Eaglets on perches

The three eagles have caused some trouble for the veterinary staff; they have been seen picking at each other’s carpal ‘bumpers’ – bandages applied to the wrists of each bird to protect the wings from injury. Eaglet #14-0649 removed the white band on his leg that was used for identification, making it a challenge for the staff to differentiate the two young birds.

The eaglets need a couple of weeks to build up strength and stamina for flight. Once they are strong enough, the rehabilitation staff will begin exercising the birds daily.

Since their admission, Bald Eaglets #14-0649 and #14-0650 have been bright and active with strong appetites. The eaglets have been branching out from their nest, flapping their wings, and hopping to the different small perches in the tower of A3. This indicates that the eaglets may be close to fully fledging.

On May 19, certified wildlife rehabilitator Amber Dedrick opened the doors between the tower and the main flight pen, giving the eaglets the space to properly fledge.

We expect the eaglets will begin exploring their new space soon – watch Critter Cam to see when the eaglets make their first flight attempts! Over a period of a few weeks, the eaglets will increase their strength, stamina, and flight capabilities.

For identification purposes, Bald Eaglet #14-0649 has a white band on its leg, and eaglet #14-0650 is not banded.