On July 23, a juvenile Bald Eagle was found on the ground and unable to fly on a barrier island in Northampton County . The rescuer easily captured the bird and brought it to the Eastern Shore Animal Hospital for treatment. Upon arrival at the animal hospital, the bird was very thin, dehydrated, depressed, and covered in mud. The rescuer noted a slight wing droop in the bird’s right wing when it was first found, however, the droop was not present when it was examined by one of the hospital’s veterinarians. Radiographs were taken to investigate the possible wing droop and an emergency blood panel was performed on the bird -- no abnormalities were found. The eagle was given fluids and it quickly improved in a few short hours. The bird was then transferred to a local wildlife rehabilitator.
The juvenile Bald Eagle improved within several days and appeared ready for release on July 29. When a release was attempted, the eagle flew a short distance before it grounded. The bird was recaptured and transported to the Wildlife Center on July 30 for further evaluation.
Upon admission to the Wildlife Center, Bald Eagle #14-1767 was quiet, alert, and responsive. Dr. Helen Ingraham, the Center’s veterinary fellow, performed the initial exam. Possible mild hemorrhages were noted in both of the bird’s eyes, but the veterinary staff were unable to find any apparent injuries that indicate why the eagle was found unable to fly. The Wildlife Center staff estimate the eagle is a young bird and hatched earlier this year.
On July 31, a more in-depth ocular exam was performed. Dr. Helen and Dr. Dave McRuer, the Center’s director of veterinary services found a small retinal scar in the back the bird’s right eye and signs of old retinal healing in the left eye. Both of these findings are not overly concerning and will not prevent the eagle’s release.
On August 1, Bald Eagle #14-1767 was moved to a larger outdoor flight pen [A2]. At first the eagle was often observed perching and walking around its enclosure, but was unwilling to fly. A few days later, the rehabilitation staff noticed the juvenile Bald Eagle flying to low perches and on August 5, decided to begin the bird on flight conditioning. During the following two weeks, the eagle proved to be a stubborn, but capable flyer. The bird frequently flies more than seven passes end to end, but must rest often. The rehabilitation staff will continue to exercise the bird to help increase its stamina and evaluate its flying abilities during the next few weeks.