On April 23, two Bald Eagles were seen fighting in King William County, Virginia. One bird flew off and was unable to be caught, but the second large eagle was found down on the ground with several wounds on her face and feet. The bird was taken to Tidewater Wildlife Rescue for stabilization, and transported to the Wildlife Center of Virginia for treatment the following day.
The Center’s veterinary team examined the bird – likely a female, based on size – upon admission and found that the bird was in good body condition, weighing in at 4.50 kg. The eagle had small abrasions around her feet and left eye, with some mild bruising and swelling; the veterinary team also found two small puncture wounds on the outside of the bird’s left leg. Most significantly, the eagle had a very swollen, fractured toe on her right foot. Blood work indicated that the eagle had subclinical amounts of lead in her system.
The veterinary team carefully cleaned the eagle’s wounds and stabilized the bird’s toe fracture using a ball bandage, which allowed the bird’s foot to maintain its natural perching shape. The eagle received fluids, pain medications, anti-inflammatories, and started a course of oral chelation therapy.
Three days after admission, the veterinary team anesthetized the eagle to surgically debride the wounds on the bird’s left leg; they were able to successfully “freshen” the edges of the wound and apply sutures. Within the next week, the eagle was stable enough to move to a small outdoor enclosure, where she continued another round of oral chelation therapy while receiving bandage changes on her toe every few days.
On May 19, the eagle moved to flight pen A3, one of the Center’s largest flight spaces for Bald Eagles. The veterinary team added a splint to the bird’s toe to help stabilize it, though overall they were pleased with the progress of the healing fracture.