Bald Eagle #17-0263

Admission Date: 
March 21, 2017
Location of Rescue: 
Virginia Beach, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Wing fracture
Died April 1, 2017
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On March 21, an adult female Bald Eagle was found down in Virginia Beach (Fort Story) and was taken to Nature's Nanny Wildlife Rehabilitation. Permitted wildlife rehabilitator Dana Lusher examined the eagle and noted a fracture at the tip of the bird's right wing; Dana wrapped the wing and made arrangements for transport to the Wildlife Center of Virginia that same day.

Dr. Peach, one of the Center's veterinarians, examined the eagle when she arrived. The eagle was bright, alert, reactive, and standing; a physical examination and radiographs revealed an open fracture of the bird's right major and minor metacarpal. No other injuries were noted, though the bird has a large brood patch, indicating that she likely has an active nest. Dr. Peach cleaned the fracture site before bandaging the wound and splinting the fracture. The bird will be taken to surgery to repair the fracture on the afternoon of March 22.


Anatomy of a bird's wing                                                                             Bald Eagle #17-0263's fractured wing

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this Bald Eagle … and all of the patients admitted in 2017. Please help! 


April 3, 2017

Bald Eagle #17-0263 developed some complications at her fracture site last week; on March 29, Dr. Peach noted that the bird's fractured minor metacarpal was exposed at the fracture site. On Friday, Dr. Peach took the eagle to surgery to debride the necrotic bone and tissue away from the area; it was a fairly straightforward procedure and one that should not compromise the bird's ability to fly.

The surgery went well, and the bird's time under anesthesia was minimal, given the procedure. The bird's recovery was prolonged, but uneventful. At the end of the day, the bird was still lying down in her enclosure but was awake and aware of her surroundings. Sadly, later that evening, the eagle was found dead in her enclosure. Dr. Peach performed a necropsy, though didn't find anything unusual. Sadly, it may be that the eagle passed away due to anesthetic complications.

March 28, 2017

Bald Eagle #17-0263 is recovering well post-surgery; the eagle is receiving daily wound checks, along with pain medications and laser therapy to promote healing. The swelling around the surgical site is minimal and the veterinarians are pleased with how things are healing so far. The eagle will remain in the Center's holding room while the external fixator is in place; if all goes well, the hardware will be removed toward the end of April.

March 23, 2017

On the afternoon of March 22, Dr. Peach took Bald Eagle #17-0263 to surgery to repair the bird's fractured major metacarpal. Critter Cam viewers were able to watch the procedure live via the Wildlife Center's Surgery Cam!

Dr. Peach inserted four metal pins into the bird's metacarpal bone, then radiographed the eagle's wing to check the position of the pins. Once Dr. Peach was satisfied with placement, an external fixator was secured to the pins to stabilize the fracture. The procedure went well; the bird's wing was bandaged and the bird recovered uneventfully from anesthesia. Dr. Peach was pleased with the final placement of the pins and fixator.

The bird will remain in the Center's holding room for the next few weeks as the bone slowly begins to heal. The eagle will receive pain medication, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and fluids daily.