Bald Eagle #23-0710 [K62]

Admission Date: 
April 20, 2023
Location of Rescue: 
Northampton County, Virginia
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Found grounded, unable to fly
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On April 19, a young Bald Eagle was found grounded on the beach in Cape Charles, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The eagle had recently been eating a rotting beached whale and was quiet and unable to fly when she was found. Wildlife rehabilitator Jodie Sokel was able to capture the bird and provided supportive care until the eagle was transported to the Wildlife Center of Virginia the following day.

The person who found the eagle, Marina, is a wildlife photographer and had been following the young bird for a week. Thanks to Marina’s zoom lens and photography skills, she was able to see that the bird had a green leg band [K62]. Social media connections put Marina in touch with the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Florida; the center treated and released the hatch-year bird on March 25, 2023, in Pasco County [north of Tampa].  Marina first saw the young eagle in Virginia on April 10. 

Photos of the young Bald Eagle, courtesy of Marina Pierce: 



Dr. Marit, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, examined the Bald Eagle at admission on April 20. The eagle was bright and alert, but very thin, with a body condition score of 1.5/5. No fractures or significant injuries were found on examination, and radiographs were within normal limits. A blood lead test revealed a lead level of 0.101 ppm; while this amount of lead is considered “subclinical”, no level of lead is safe to have in the body. Dr. Marit and team gave fluids to the young eagle and started the bird on a course of antifungals and oral chelation therapy to remove the lead from the bird’s system.

On April 23, the Bald Eagle was moved to a small outdoor enclosure. Once the course of oral chelation therapy is complete and another lead test is performed [scheduled for April 26], the eagle will likely be moved to a larger space with other Bald Eagle patients. The team will continue to monitor the bird’s appetite closely to ensure the bird is eating well and gaining weight. At this point, there is no singular apparent cause of admission.  The young bird may have had difficulty finding adequate food; the lead levels and potential GI upset from eating the rotting whale may also have contributed to the eaglet’s deteriorating condition at the time of rescue.

Your donation will provide veterinary medical care and treatment to this young Bald Eagle ... and more than 3,700 other wild animals that the Center will treat this year. Thank you! 


May 22, 2023

On May 10, Bald Eagle #23-0710 was moved to the Center's A3 flight pen, a large flight enclosure designed for eagles and other large birds of prey. The rehabilitation staff report that the bird is eating well and putting on weight; as of May 22, the eagle weighed in at 3.78 kg (a solid increase from her admission weight of 2.94 kg). The bird is flying well in the large flight space and has multiple other eagle roommates, including a hatch-year bird who is currently enclosed in the lofted tower of A3. This space connects to and overlooks the main flight space, and Bald Eagle #23-0710 often perches next to the tower area near the young eaglet.

May 5, 2023

During the past week, Bald Eagle #23-0710 has been showing some signs of recovery. Additional testing for lead toxicosis on April 26 showed that oral chelation therapy was successful in removing the remaining lead from the bird’s system, and the rehabilitation staff report that the bird is regularly consuming 100% of the fish and rat offered each day. While the eagle’s body condition score remains low, the bird weighed in at 3.6 kg on May 1, compared to 2.94 kg on admission. During the coming days, Bald Eagle #23-0710 will remain in a small outdoor enclosure under close observation by veterinary and rehabilitation staff.  

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