On Saturday, March 9, an immature Bald Eagle from Virginia’s Eastern Shore was brought to the Wildlife Center. The volunteer transporter also brought four dead eagles from the same rescue site.
The unusual circumstances surrounding this eagle’s rescue are being investigated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Law Enforcement. The Center collected evidence and is cooperating with the authorities in this investigation.
The immature Bald Eagle, likely a male, was admitted as patient #13-0174. Dr. Dana Tedesco, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the bird when it arrived. The eagle was quiet, and while the bird was standing in its transport enclosure, its head was drooping. Dr. Dana performed a physical examination, radiographs, and initial blood work, which included a lead test. The results came back at 0.27 ppm – an elevated, but not yet critical level of lead, but one that warranted treatment. Chelation therapy was started.
On radiographs, Dr. Dana was able to see multiple metal fragments in the bird’s digestive tract. To avoid a continued leaching of the lead into the eagle’s bloodstream, Dr. Dana formulated a “Metamucil slurry” tube-feeding plan so that the metal fragments will quickly move through the eagle’s system.
Since beginning treatment, the eagle has been a little brighter and more alert. Additional radiographs will be taken on March 12 to check on the status of the fragments. An additional lead test will be performed on March 13.
Eagle Rescue in the News
"Four Dead Bald Eagles are Found in Northampton County," DelmarvaNow.com
"Four Dead Eagles Found Dead on Eastern Shore," WAVY-TV
"Four Eagles Dead on Eastern Shore," WTKR-TV
"Eagle Deaths on VA's Eastern Shore Investigated," NBC12-TV
Your special donation will help the Center to provide state-of-the-art medical care to this Bald Eagle ... and to the 2,500 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year. Please help!
Post-release postscript: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the deaths of the four other eagles were caused by carbofuran pesticide poisoning. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has an open investigation of the case and is still seeking information.