Bald Eagle #15-1312 [BI78]

Species Name (EN): 
Species Name (LA): 
Admission Date: 
June 24, 2015
Release Date: 
October 22, 2015
Location of Rescue: 
Northumberland County
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Unable to fly
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On June 24, a hatch-year female Bald Eagle was found on the ground in Northumberland County by Animal Control Officer Kevin Keeve. The eaglet was taken to wildlife rehabilitator Diana O’Connor for immediate care. Diana noted that the bird’s primary feather shafts were infested with maggots, but the young eagle had no other abnormalities. The feathers were flushed with Capstar [an anti-parasitic medication] and the Bald Eagle was transported the Center the following day.

During the initial exam, Bald Eagle #15-1312 was bright, alert, and responsive. Dr. Helen and Dr. Meghan noted that there was damage to multiple feathers shafts on each of the eagle’s wings. Blood work and radiographs were unremarkable. The eagle was given fluids and supportive care before it was placed in the Center’s holding room overnight with a meal of fish and rat.

The following morning, Bald Eagle #15-1312 was bright, alert, and had eaten most of her meal. The veterinary staff noted discharge from the bird’s left primary wing feathers and flushed the areas with Capstar. A maggot was also removed from one of the feather shafts during the flushing. The staff then began the bird on a three-day regimen of antibiotics and anti-inflammitories before the bird was returned to her airline crate in the Center’s holding room.

On June 27, veterinary staff observed no discharge or maggots and cleared the bird to move outside to one of the Center’s C-pens [C1] the next day. The staff will continue to monitor Bald Eagle #15-1312 for any signs of discharge or maggots during the next week and will recheck blood work on July 6.

If Bald Eagle #15-1312 continues to improve, she will be moved to larger flight pen and placed with other young eagle patients.

The Center depends on the donations of caring individuals to provide veterinary care to wildlife and training in wildlife veterinary medicine. Please help! 


October 22, 2015

Bald Eagle #15-1312 was successfully released today at Belle Isle State Park in front of a crowd of nearly 100 people. Wildlife Center President Ed Clark did the honors, and the bird flew off beautifully. Stay tuned to our Eagle Tracking page to see where this bird travels!

Photos from Bev Miller:



Thanks to Bev Miller for sharing photos of today's eagle release! It was a great success. Check into the website tomorrow -- and in the future -- to see where this bird travels!

Posted by Wildlife Center of Virginia on Thursday, October 22, 2015


Photos by Cheryl Kirk:

October 19, 2015

Bald Eaglet #15-1312 has been flying well during the past few weeks. On Friday, October 16, the veterinary staff drew blood from the young bird for a pre-release analysis. Results were within normal limits and the bird was cleared for release.

Wildlife Center President Ed Clark will release the Bald Eagle on Thursday, October 22, at Belle Isle State Park [1632 Belle Isle Rd., Lancaster, VA] at 11:30 a.m. The release is free and open to the public; attendees should plan to meet at the Visitor’s Center. If attending, please RSVP to

October 2, 2015

Bald Eaglets #15-1261, #15-1319, and #15-1339 have all been flying well – at least on days when it hasn’t been raining heavily! The birds are starting to achieve their “optimum level” of flight – 15 or more passes during each exercise session.

On Tuesday, October 6, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries eagle biologist Jeff Cooper will come to the Center to fit the three young eagles with GPS transmitters. The eagles will be a part of an ongoing research study that will monitor eagle movements. This study looks at the data received from these tracked Bald Eagles to determine the range and behavior of Bald Eagles in Virginia’s coastal plain. Migratory behavior is studied as biologists are able to see how far Bald Eagles move in the winter season, and the data will play an important role in modeling how these birds use airspace. By looking at heights at which the eagles fly, average distances, and other specifics, biologists are able to relate this eagle behavior to real-life issues, such as airstrike data. During the past few years, VDGIF Biologist Jeff Cooper has fitted dozens of Bald Eagles with GPS transmitters.

For the Wildlife Center, this is a fantastic opportunity for additional post-release studies of our rehabilitated raptors. There have been very few studies done in this area. The Wildlife Center will be able to see and share GPS data; the bird will be added to the Eagle Tracking page on our website.

After the transmitter fitting, the birds will continue to be exercised for at least a week before release is considered.

September 23, 2015

During the last three weeks, the rehabilitation staff has continued to exercise Bald Eaglet #15-1312. At first the young eagle was uncoordinated and only able to make five to seven passes before tiring. As daily exercise sessions continued, the eagle gradually improved in stamina, perching, and maneuverability. By September 18, the eagle was consistently flying 10 or more passes in the A3 flight pen.

On September 23, the rehabilitation staff did another round of “eagle shuffling” and moved Bald Eagles #15-1922 and #15-1261 to the A1 enclosure to give the birds a longer flight pen for exercise and Bald Eagle #15-1312 was placed in flight pen A2. Once Bald Eagle #15-1312 is able to consistently fly at optimal level [15 passes end-to-end], the rehabilitation staff will consider preparing the eagle for release.

August 28, 2015

The four young Bald Eagles in flight pen A3 have been doing well during the past month. Three of the young eaglets -- #15-1261, #15-1312, and #15- 1339 -- have gradually started flying. At first, they made short flights to the swinging perches, but soon the short flights were replaced by longer flights up to the tower and flights from end-to-end in the flight pen. All birds are eating well and are maintaining weight.

Bald Eaglet #15-0733 has not been seen flying much – the bird tends to remain on the A-frames and ground perches in the flight pen. This young eaglet had a severely fractured wing when he was admitted in May; while the eaglet may need additional time for flight conditioning, it’s also possible that he will not be able to fly well enough for release.

Within the next day, Bald Eaglet #15-1261 will be moved to flight pen A2, and will share space with eaglet #15-1348. By splitting eagles into smaller groups, the rehabilitation staff will be able to safely exercise the birds to prepare them for release.

For identification purposes, most of the eaglets’ protective wing “bumpers” have remained the same:

#15-0733 – baby ducks
#15-1312 – purple
#15-1339 – black
#15-1261 – peacock [formerly “angry birds”]

July 15, 2015

On July 15, the veterinary staff moved Bald Eaglets #15-0733 and #15-1261 from the tower area to the main flight area of A3. Blood work for Bald Eaglet #15-1261 has improved, and Bald Eaglet #15-0733’s wing has continued to heal well.

This recent move means that four eaglets are now being housed together. They can be identified on Critter Cam by their colorful, protective “wrist” bumpers:

Bald Eaglet #15-0733: rubber duckies
Bald Eaglet #15-1261: angry birds
Bald Eaglet #15-1312: purple
Bald Eaglet #15-1339: black

All of the birds are eating well and are in good body condition. 

July 8, 2015

Bald Eaglets #15-1312 and 15-1339 have been doing well in flight pen A3 during the past week. As many Critter Cam viewers have noted, the eaglets are still young and spend some of the time laying down on the ground to rest and sleep.

The birds will remain at the Center until they are old enough to be on their own. During that time, the eaglets will receive “foot and feather checks” every two weeks; during these quick examinations, the vets take a close look at the birds’ wings, feathers, legs, and feet to ensure there are no problems while the birds are in captivity. The eaglets are wearing protective “bumpers” on their wings; the slightly padded carpal bumpers help prevent injury to the young birds’ wrists. Colored duct tape on the bumpers also serves as a very useful identification technique. Right now, eaglet #15-1312 is wearing purple bumpers, and #15-1339 is wearing black bumpers.

Both birds are gaining weight. #15-1339, the large female bird, weighs 4.43 kg; #15-1339 weighs 3.50 kg.


July 1, 2015

Bald Eaglet #15-1312 has been eating well during the past few days and has gained weight; the bird now weighs 3.97 kg. The young eagle is very alert and feisty, and on July 1, was moved to flight pen A3.

Bald Eaglet #15-1339, from Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, is also doing well and will join #15-1312 in A3. The staff believe that these two eaglets are a few weeks older than eaglets #15-0733 and #15-1261, who are currently housed in the loft of A3. The birds will be able to see and hear one another.

Both #15-1339 and #15-1312 will share the large flight space with non-releasable Bald Eagle #13-2076. Bald Eaglet #15-1339 can be identified by its "flamingo" bumpers while #15-1312 is sporting "superman" bumpers. These protective wing bumpers are constructed out of thin padding covered in protective duct tape; they cover the eaglets’ wrist areas and guard against injuries.

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