On June 16, a fisherman found an immature Bald Eagle down in a stream in Spotsylvania County. The bird was flapping and apparently unable to fly; the fisherman called the Spotsylvania police department, and an officer responded to the scene and was able to capture the bird. The eagle was taken to a local veterinary clinic before it was transferred to a permitted at-home wildlife rehabilitator; the eagle was transported to the Wildlife Center on June 17.
Dr. Cam, one of the Center's veterinary interns, examined the eagle when it arrived and found that the bird was thin, but with no obvious wounds or fractures. A lead test revealed a subclinical lead level of 0.05 ppm. No other notable injuries were seen on the examination or on radiographs. Dr. Cam suspected that the bird had experienced neurologic symptoms as a result of the lead toxicity and was unable to care for itself, including finding food. Dr. Cam provided the bird with fluids, anti-inflammatories, and began a course of oral chelation therapy to treat the lead.
By the end of June, the bird was cleared to move to a small outdoor raptor enclosure for additional observation. A follow-up lead test indicated that lead had been removed through chelation therapy; no additional treatment was needed. In mid-August, the eagle was moved to flight pen A3, where it would have more room to fly and rebuild its flight muscles in preparation for release. The rehabilitation staff started the bird on a daily exercise regiment on August 21. They will continue to monitor the bird carefully during exercise, to ensure that the bird is regaining strength and stamina and has no long-term neurologic issues.