Bald Eagle #22-0261

Admission Date: 
March 20, 2022
Location of Rescue: 
Henrico County
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Vehicle Collision; Lead Toxicosis
Prognosis: 
Guarded
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On March 20, the Center admitted an adult Bald Eagle that was hit by a car in Henrico County. The eagle was scavenging a deer carcass on the side of the road, and, when it attempted to fly away, it was struck by the vehicle. A Henrico County police officer was dispatched to the scene and found that the eagle was unable to fly and appeared to have trauma to its left wing. The officer captured the eagle, and a volunteer transported the bird to the Center later that day. 

On admission, the eagle (likely a male) was alert and responsive. Dr. Jenn, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, examined the bird and found blood in his glottis (part of the airway), indicating that he had internal trauma. Dr. Jenn also found subcutaneous emphysema (air trapped under the skin), severe bruising, and a puncture wound on the bird's left shoulder. Radiographs revealed that the eagle’s left scapula (shoulder blade) was fractured. During the exam, Dr. Jenn also tested for lead toxicosis, a common issue for Bald Eagles and other raptors. The in-house lead test came back positive for lead at a level of 0.173 ppm, a subclinical level that could cause health issues if left untreated.

After the exam, Dr. Jenn administered fluids, placed a body wrap to stabilize the eagle’s fracture, and started the eagle on a course of anti-inflammatories. She then placed the eagle in the Center's indoor Hold for rest and close monitoring. Once the eagle was well-hydrated, Dr. Jenn started chelation therapy to remove the lead from the bird's system and added medication to reduce the eagle's stress in captivity. 

For now, the eagle will stay inside the Center's hospital where the veterinary team can closely monitor him during daily treatments. The eagle's prognosis is guarded due to his internal trauma and fractured wing.

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care to this injured Bald Eagle ... and more than 3,500 wild patients in need this year. Thank you!

Updates

May 23, 2022

After a flight assessment from the rehabilitation staff and examination from the veterinary team, Bald Eagle #22-0261 has been cleared for release!

Wildlife Center President Ed Clark will release the eagle at Berkeley Plantation at Taps Field on Wednesday, May 25 at 1:00 p.m. The release is open to the public; please let us know if you're coming by emailing RSVP@wildlifecenter.org.  Please indicate that you will be attending the Berkeley Plantation release along with the number of people in your party. 

Please visit the Berkeley Plantation website for general directions. Alternatively, use Google/MapQuest to obtain the best directions from your location to the Berkeley address:

12602 Harrison Landing Road
Charles City, Virginia 23030

There is a directional sign at the front of Berkeley Plantation’s driveway. Rather than taking a slight right onto Harrison Landing (which leads to the main Berkeley Plantation mansion), bear left toward Westover Plantation. Take an immediate right onto a gravel driveway [if you pass the sign that notes that Westover Plantation is two miles ahead, you have missed the turn to Berkeley].

Follow the gravel road straight back for 1.1 miles. The parking lot will be on your right.

The release will take place rain or shine. If storms [with lightning] threaten the release plans, we'll post an update here and will email those who have sent their RSVP. 

The Wildlife Center is following all CDC Guidelines and recommendations with regard to SARS-CoV-2. Current data suggest the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in outdoor settings is minimal. In general, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask outdoors. Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised. Please be respectful and physically distance with those outside of your party.

May 10, 2022

During the past month, the veterinary team has continued to treat Bald Eagle #22-0261 with a combination of bandage changes, anti-inflammatory medication, and chelation therapy. On April 4, the veterinary team anesthetized the eagle to take repeat radiographs of its left wing. The radiographs revealed bony callus formation around its fracture, a sign that the fracture is healing. While the eagle was anesthetized, the veterinary team also took a blood sample and ran an in-house lead test. The test came back positive for 0.056 ppm lead, a decreased level, but still enough to require a second course of treatment. 

On April 9, the veterinary team moved the eagle to flight pen A3, one of the Center’s largest flight pens, to give the bird more space and decrease its stress as it continues to recover. After several more weeks of treatment, the rehabilitation team started exercising the eagle daily to assess its flight and to help it rebuild its strength and stamina. Initially, the rehabilitation noted a minor left-wing droop during exercises, but they have not seen the wing droop in more than two weeks and the eagle has been able to perform up to 15 flight passes. 

On May 3, the veterinary team ran a repeat lead test which came back with a positive reading of  0.038 ppm. After giving the eagle a rest period in between treatments, the veterinary team started it on an additional course of chelation therapy to remove the remaining lead. For now, the eagle will stay in flight pen A3 where it will continue its daily exercises while undergoing treatment; its prognosis remains guarded. 

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