On May 13, an adult Bald Eagle was found down in a field on a dead cow in Pittsylvania County. A DGIF Conservation Police Officer was able to contain the eagle, and took it to nearby Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke for initial treatment. The following day, the eagle was transported to the Wildlife Center.
Dr. Ernesto, the Center's hospital director, examined the eagle when it arrived. The bird was bright, alert, and standing and generally was in good body condition. The physical examination and radiographs were within normal limits, but a blood lead test revealed that the bird had lead toxicosis at a level of 0.22 ppm. Dr. Ernesto began a course of both oral and injectable chelation therapy, which will essentially "scrub" the lead from the bird's system. The bird was placed in the Center's holding room for observation.
On May 18, Dr. Karra reported that the eagle was extremely feisty during treatments -- an encouraging sign! The eagle will finish its course of chelation therapy on May 19 and will be tested again for lead later this week.