Bald Eagle at Bird Rehab Center

Posted: June 4, 2021 | 2:20 pm

By: Corianne, Bird Rehabilitation Keeper

Have you ever wondered how about the Abilene Zoo Bird Rehabilitation Center’s patients? Like how many we get, what the coolest bird we have ever gotten in before, or how we help outpatients return to the wild? With our patient of the month blog, we will be highlighting some of our patients and giving you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to send these birds back home.

Patient of the Month: Bald Eagle

June’s patient of the month is a very big baby, literally. At the beginning of May, the Rehab Center was contacted by a local game warden who responded to a call about a golden eagle/bald eagle and wanted to make sure we were prepared for such a big patient. 

During the intake exam, it was all hands on deck! The bird was identified as a juvenile bald eagle approximately 6 months to a year old and still has a lot of its baby fluff. 

Unfortunately, he wasn’t in the best shape and had a fracture, a missing eye, feather lice, and was dehydrated.

We were able to obtain a blood sample that was tested for lead and came back positively in the toxic range.

Many eagles and vultures will have high lead levels due to their diet. These birds can accidentally consume prey like deer or bird carcasses that have been shot with lead ammunition. Bald Eagles are also often found near lakes and can accidentally eat lead-based tackle used to catch fish. 

The bird started his rehabilitation with lead treatment, antibiotics, a lice remover, fluids to restore hydration, and all the food he could want.  Now a month later we are still treating for lead poisoning but the Bald eagle has become vocal and active. Due to his impaired eyesight, he will not be releasable back into the wild, so the Rehab center will continue to care for it until a permanent home is located through U.S. Fish and Wildlife.  

About Corianne

Corianne has been with the Abilene Zoo for two years and works in the back as the Rehab keeper. When rescuers bring birds in for rehabilitation Corianne is the person they will interact with! She recently moved to Abilene and loves spending time with her husband and three dogs.

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