On May 22, severe storms rolled through eastern Virginia. In Tappahannock, Virginia, a small tornado touched down and destroyed an eagle’s nest containing two eight-week old eaglets. The eaglets were found the following morning and were picked up by the DGIF eagle biologist. The birds were transported to the Wildlife Center later that same evening.
Dr. Kristin Britton, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the eaglets when they arrived. Eaglet #14-0866 was bright and alert, but radiographs confirmed that the young bird sustained a left humeral fracture. The eaglet also had blood in its mouth, and an abrasion on its beak.
Eaglet #14-0867 was not standing in the transport crate when Dr. Kristin began her assessment; radiographs revealed that eaglet had a right pelvic fracture. The birds were stabilized and treated with pain meds, fluids, anti-inflammatories.
On the morning of May 26, the veterinary team will take eaglet #14-0866 to surgery to try to repair the left humeral fracture. Dr. Kristin anticipates that the surgery could be difficult due to the location of the fracture – the humerus is fractured near the shoulder joint.
Bald Eagle #14-0867 will be cage rested for several weeks. The pelvic fracture is well-aligned, and should be able to heal on its own. The eagle is able to use both legs, but is now spending most of its time lying down in its enclosure in the Center’s holding room. Both eaglets weigh about 4.3 kg.