Buddy the Bald Eagle

Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Beak injury
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On the morning of March 15, the veterinary team examined Buddy, the Center’s education Bald Eagle ambassador. Early in the week, the outreach staff had noticed dried blood around Buddy’s beak.  At first, it seemed like he had food remnants stuck to the left side of his beak, which, while not entirely unusual for a bird of prey, was out of the ordinary for Buddy.  

Buddy was brought into the Center’s hospital, where Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Karra found that a significant portion of the side of Buddy’s beak was broken.  A large portion of keratin was missing from the left side of Buddy’s beak, down to the bone on both the side and tip of the beak. Dr. Karra cleaned and disinfected the area, then applied bone cement to protect the exposed bone.

Buddy’s injury appears traumatic, though staff aren’t sure what happened to cause this injury. They estimate that the injury likely happened on Sunday – a generally quiet day at the Center, with only the essential veterinary team and a front-desk coordinator staffing the Center, and a day on which Buddy is not fed. Buddy’s beak does have a predisposed weakness due to the lifelong deformity caused by a large pox lesion that he developed as a nestling.  

Buddy is currently on a course of antibiotics and pain medications, and the staff will monitor Buddy’s beak carefully in the coming days. The veterinary team plan to examine his wound in a week. Dr. Karra is concerned about the risk of infection, due to the exposed bone, and also has concerns about Buddy’s quality of life if the beak’s keratin doesn’t adequately grow back.

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care to Buddy ... and more than 3,700 other wild animals at the Center this year. Thank you! 


March 24, 2023

On March 24, Dr. Karra and the veterinary team anesthetized Buddy the Bald Eagle to re-examine his injured beak. After removing the bone cement that was covering his wound, Dr. Karra was pleased to find that the tissue and bone appeared healthy and that there was granulation tissue forming around the edge of the wound. This type of tissue injury takes a very long time to heal; the long-term prognosis is still unknown, and the wound is still quite significant, but it's encouraging to see healthy tissue forming. 

After the exam, Dr. Karra placed a new layer of bone cement on top of the wound and is continuing Buddy on a course of antibiotics and pain medication. She plans to recheck the wound in two weeks. 

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