Bald Eaglet #17-0879

Admission Date: 
May 11, 2017
Release Date: 
September 9, 2017
Location of Rescue: 
Essex County, Virginia
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Fell from nest
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On May 10, a private citizen observed a fledgling Bald Eagle on the ground in Essex County. Found at the same location as Bald Eaglet 17-0836, the new eaglet is presumed to be a sibling. The eaglet was initially taken to permitted wildlife rehabilitator Diana O’Connor, and was admitted to the Wildlife Center on May 11.

Dr. Ernesto found the eaglet to be bright, alert, and responsive upon presentation. A physical examination revealed no injuries aside from a thin body condition and minor dehydration. Emergency blood work was performed, and radiographs were taken. No evidence of internal injuries or poisoning were revealed, leading veterinary staff to believe the eaglet had most likely fallen from its nest. Fluids were administered, and the eaglet received a dose of anti-fungal medication. Many young eagles, especially those with weakened immune systems, receive this preventative medication upon admission.

The eaglet is currently being held in the Raptor Tower section of outdoor flight pen A3 along with its sibling, Bald Eaglet 17-0836, where it will receive daily monitoring and care. In this elevated space, both eaglets will be able to observe several adult Bald Eagles in the adjoining flight pen throughout the rehabilitation process.

Your donation helps to provide for the specialized care for this young eagle, as well as the 2,500 animals that are admitted to the Center annually.


September 6, 2017

During the past week, Bald Eagles #17-0879 and #17-1354 have been flying well during daily exercise sessions; the rehabilitation team feel that it's time for release! 

The two eagles will be released on Saturday, September 9 at 1:00 p.m. at York River State Park [9801 York River Park Rd., Williamsburg, VA].  The release is free and open to the public; those attending are asked to RSVP to


August 29, 2017

Bald Eagles #17-0879 and #17-1354 have been flying well in A3 during the past week; they have each been flying an average of 6-11 passes during each exercise session. This week, the eagles will be pushed to 10-15 passes during their daily exercise. The team will continue to monitor the birds’ stamina and lift in the large flight pen.

August 3, 2017

Bald Eaglets #17-1181 [cupcake bumpers] and #17-0836 [green bumpers] have been flying very well during exercise sessions and were bumped up to a goal of 15+ passes during each exercise session this week. This is the “optimum” level for this species in this particular flight space; as long as the eaglets continue to do well during the next couple of weeks, release could be considered. The staff are contacting the state eagle biologist to inquire about GPS transmitters.

Bald Eaglet #17-0879 has been the weakest flyer of the three, and, within the past week, has been displaying a slight wing droop. The team decided to move the bird to a different flight space to continue exercise; this will allow the two other eaglets to fully prepare for release.

July 28, 2017

The three young Bald Eagles in A3 have been exercising well during the past week; wildlife rehabilitator Brie notes that eagle #17-0836 [Green bumpers] is still the strongest flier of the bunch, and typically flies eight to 11 passes during each exercise session. The other two are doing well, but need to improve their stamina. All of the eagles will have their daily goal increased to 10-15 passes during each session.

July 19, 2017

The three Bald Eaglets in A3 are exercising well; wildlife rehabilitator Brie reports that eaglet #17-0836 [green bumpers] is the strongest flier out of the three. Each eaglet has been consistently flying about five to six passes; this week, the eaglets will be pushed to five to 10 passes. Once they are consistently flying at 15+ passes during each session, release will be considered. Dr. Ernesto is getting in touch with the state eagle biologist to see if he has extra GPS transmitters for any of the eaglets.

Bald Eaglet #17-0879 was switched to "purple owl" bumpers this week.

July 13, 2017

On Wednesday, the rehabilitation team moved Bald Eaglet #17-1354 to flight pen A2, to share an enclosure with Bald Eagle #17-0968. The remaining three eaglets in A3 began exercise on Wednesday; the team will carefully monitor the birds to make sure all three young eagles can successfully exercise in the same space. Current wing bumper identifications are:

Bald Eagle #17-0836 – green bumpers
Bald Eagle #17-0879 – “hands” bumpers [white background with colorful handprints]
Bald Eagle #17-1181 – cupcakes bumpers

July 6, 2017

The eagle family in A3 is doing well; the young eaglets are all exploring their space and are able to fly the length of the flight enclosure. Dr. Ernesto and wildlife rehabilitator Brie will soon make a plan to begin splitting up the eaglets so that they can be safely exercised in flight pens; six eagles in a pen is too many to safely exercise. To start with, the two non-releasable mature eagles were moved to flight pen A1.

Each eaglet will need to be flight-conditioned; the rehab team will assess the bird’s altitude during flight, maneuverability, and stamina. It will likely be several weeks before the young birds are conditioned enough for release. Because eagles rely heavily on scavenging (in addition to catching fresh fish) live prey testing is not offered for Bald Eagles at the Wildlife Center.

June 22, 2017

The eagle family in flight pen A3 is doing well; earlier this week, the wildlife rehabilitation staff opened the tower doors to allow #17-1354 to fledge. The young bird left the tower sometime later that night or early the next morning.

At this point, the eagles are exploring the flight enclosure and are growing up; they aren't yet being exercised, but will likely be split up when it's time to begin. Critter Cam viewers can identify the eaglets by the color of their protective wing bumpers; eaglet #17-0836 has green bumpers, eaglet #17-0879 has "gnome" bumpers (gray background color), eaglet #17-1181 has "cupcake" bumpers (purple in color), and eaglet #17-1354 has stripe bumpers.

June 7, 2017

On June 6, wildlife rehabilitator Brie opened up the doors of the tower in flight pen A3 to allow Bald Eagle #17-1181 to fledge. The young eagle hung out in the nest for most of the day, then moved to the railing for a few hours before officially fledging that evening.

Critter Cam viewers can identify the eaglets by the color of their protective wing bumpers; eaglet #17-0836 has green bumpers, eaglet #17-0879 has "gnome" bumpers (gray background color), and eaglet #17-1181 has "cupcake" bumpers (purple in color).

The eaglets are eating well and gaining weight. The veterinary team has not yet measured the eagles to determine gender. Based on weight and cam observations, it's likely that the newest eaglet is a male, and the green-bumpered eaglet is a female.

17-1181 [cupcakes]: 3.57 kg
17-0879 [gnomes]: 3.70 kg
17-0836 [green]: 4.60 kg

May 29, 2017

The two Bald Eaglets in the A3 raptor tower have been doing well the past couple of weeks; both birds are eating well and are becoming increasingly active. On May 29, wildlife rehabilitators Brie and Linda decided to open up the tower doors so that the birds could fledge naturally at their own pace. Watch their progress on Critter Cam 3! Bald Eaglet #17-0836 is currently wearing green "bumpers" on his wings; eaglet #17-0879 is wearing bumpers decorated with gnome duct-tape.

The eaglets will continue to receive food twice a day; at this point, they are still eating a diet of chopped rats, but will soon transition to whole food. The rehabilitation team will place food in the loft, as well as in the main part of the enclosure. Generally, young raptors and those raptors used as surrogates share food; the staff just ensures that they are providing plenty for all!

Share This Page