Bald Eaglet #21-1013

Admission Date: 
May 7, 2021
Location of Rescue: 
Northumberland County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Fell from nest; lead toxicity
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

In early May, two young Bald Eaglets were admitted from Northumberland County after their nest fell from a tree. The birds were found two days apart, though fortunately, rescuers were able to quickly capture the birds as soon as they were found; the birds were each initially taken to Nature's Nanny Wildlife Rehabilitation before being transferred to the Wildlife Center.  Bald Eaglet #21-0954 was admitted on May 5; its sibling was admitted as patient #21-1013 on May 7.

The eaglets' physical examinations and radiographs did not reveal any injuries sustained from the fall, but blood work confirmed that both had lead toxicity.  Bald Eaglet #21-0954 had an initial lead level of .22 ppm; eaglet #21-1013 had a lead level of .43 ppm. Lead toxicity is a significant issue for Bald Eagles and other raptors; it's likely that the parents of the eaglets had fed the young birds either carrion or fish with trace amounts of lead ammunition or fishing tackle. Chelation therapy was started immediately for both birds, but sadly, Bald Eaglet #21-0954 died on May 10, likely due to lead toxicity. 

Bald Eaglet #21-1013 finished its course of chelation therapy on May 11; a follow-up blood test on May 12 revealed a "low" level of lead, indicating that the chelation therapy was successfully able to remove the lead from the bird's system. The bird has remained quiet and alert and appears to be recovering well. 

Within the next few days, the staff will likely move the young bird to the tower of A3, one of the Center's largest flight pens. In the tower area, the eaglet will be able to move around, perch, and explore.  Special doors connect the tower to the main flight area of A3; when the eagle is old enough, the doors will be opened and the eaglet will be able to naturally "fledge" from this high area. 

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


June 2, 2021

Bald Eaglet #21-1013 has been doing well in the tower of the A3 flight enclosure; the bird is eating a diet of rat and fish each day. On May 24, the eaglet was tested again for lead toxicity, and the veterinary team found that the bird's lead levels were once again elevated at a level of 0.10 ppm. The eaglet started another course of oral chelation therapy. 

On May 28, the eaglet gained a roommate -- Bald Eaglet #21-1320. During the week of June 7, #21-1013 will have another blood draw to check for lead; at that point, the staff should be able to open the tower doors to allow both eaglets to fledge naturally into the main flight area of A3. 

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