On May 21, a fledgling Bald Eagle was admitted to the Wildlife Center from Virginia Beach. The bird reportedly fell 90 feet from its nest and was taken to permitted wildlife rehabilitator Lisa Barlow before it was transferred to the Wildlife Center. The bird was banded on one leg as 75-D.
Dr. Cam examined the male eaglet when he arrived; the bird was quiet but alert, and became more reactive when handled for the examination. There were no obvious external injuries, though Dr. Cam was able to palpate what he suspected was a keel fracture; the bone seemed more moveable than it should be. Radiographs confirmed that the eaglet had both keel and sternum fractures in multiple places, likely caused by the fall from the nest. No other injuries were noted.
Dr. Cam started the bird on a course of pain medications and anti-inflammatories and set the bird up in a crate in the Center's holding room. These types of fractures are unable to be surgically repaired; the bird was placed on strict cage rest to allow an interrupted healing process.
A week after admission, additional radiographs were taken; the fractures appeared to be healing well. On May 28, the eaglet was moved to the tower of the A3 flight enclosure, where he was introduced to eaglet #21-1013.
The eaglet's prognosis for release is guarded; keel fractures can heal well, and the surrounding pectoral muscles that develop for flight can attach to scar tissue and calluses that form around the fractures, but these fractures were particularly bad. The staff will need to closely assess the young bird's flight abilities as he develops and starts to fly.