Bald Eagle Rescued From Canal

provided by CROW

Bald eagles are becoming an increasingly abundant sight. Florida is home to the second highest population of bald eagles behind Alaska. However, eagle populations were nearly wiped out due to hunting and the use of pesticides. In 1978, bald eagles were listed under the Endangered Species Act and were a rare sight in the lower 48 states. After banning the use of DDT, a pesticide that contributed to their decline, eagle populations have rebounded. They were removed from the Endangered Species Act in 2007, but they are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act.

On November 9, an adult bald eagle (#20-5037) was admitted to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW). The day before, rescuers saw the eagle struggling in the water of a Cape Coral canal and pulled it to safety. When the eagle would not fly away, it was taken to drop-off location to be transported to CROW for treatment.

When the eagle arrived to the clinic, veterinarians noted that it was standing, alert and appeared to be in good condition. A flight test in an outdoor enclosure revealed that the eagle was reluctant to use its left. The team took radiographs of the eagle and found that it had a fractured coracoid, one of the bones in the shoulder girdle that is essential for flight.

“This type of fracture typically heals without surgical intervention,” says Dr. Robin Bast, CROW’s staff veterinarian. “We gave the eagle fluids for dehydration and medications to help with pain and swelling. A body wrap is used to limit the eagle’s use of the injured wing.”

The wrap will remain in place for at least two weeks followed by a week of cage rest to allow the fracture time to heal according to Dr. Bast. During this time, the eagle will receive physical therapy every few days to ensure the wing maintains a normal range of motion and prevent ligaments from tightening from not being used. After three weeks, new radiographs will be taken to check the progress of the healing fracture. If it is healing appropriately, the eagle will move to an outdoor enclosure for further rehabilitation.

“In a flight cage, the eagle can build back its strength and endurance over a few weeks,” says Dr. Bast. “This is an important step to ensure the eagle is ready for release back to its home territory.”

THIS WEEK AT CROW (11/4-11/10):
There were 78 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including 15 eastern cottontail rabbits, six double-crested cormorants, five laughing gulls, three gopher tortoises, an osprey, a barn owl, a belted kingfisher and a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. Recent Releases include an eastern screech owl, a gray catbird, a gopher tortoise and a Virginia opossum. Check out a full list of CROW’s current patients and recent releases!

Wildlife doesn’t have health insurance! Your donations help cover the costs of medical and rehabilitative care for over 5,000 patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital each year!

Want to learn more about wildlife rehabilitation? Stop by CROW’s Visitor Education Center at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road.

About Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving the sick, injured and orphaned native and migratory wildlife of Southwest Florida and beyond.  Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education programs and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and our animals through wildlife medicine. For more information, or to plan your visit, go to If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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