During the past two and a half weeks, Bald Eagle #21-1979 has been flying very well during daily exercise routines with the rehabilitation staff. By August 30, the bird was consistently flying the length of the A3 flight pen more than 15 times during each session. A blood sample drawn and analyzed by the veterinary staff confirmed that lead was no longer present in the eagle's system, and it was determined that the bird was ready for release!
Eastern Screech-Owl #21-1102 has been doing well this summer. In mid-June, the young owl, along with several other screech-owlets, started a formal exercise program in preparation for release. The young bird has been reluctant to fly, though the rehabilitation staff have coaxed the bird into flying in a large space, and the bird has shown signs of making good improvements with lift and maneuvering as he developed his flight muscles.
The veterinary team continues to manage Bald Eagle #21-1030's carpal injuries. The treatment of this eagle has been challenging; while the bird's right carpus is showing solid signs of improvement and healing, the left carpus has needed several surgical procedures to manage the large wound in this high-tension area of the bird's wing. The team will assess the prognosis for this bird in the coming weeks.
Bald Eagle #21-0677 remains in the A3 tower, where the veterinary team can more easily catch and treat the eagle's carpal injuries. While there have been intermittent improvements, the wounds are still far from healed. Significant carpal injuries can be challenging to treat; unfortunately, the wounds do require regular hands-on care to ensure that they remain clean and bandaged, but the regular catching of the bird for the treatment often creates an opportunity for the bird to re-open partially healing wounds.
Bald Eagle #21-1013 was successfully released today at the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Due to the location of this release, the event was not open to the public. Refuge staff were able to attend, along with some other official personnel, and a photographer.
Photos by Barb Melton: