CROW treating juvenile bald eagle, loggerhead and Kemp’s ridley turtles
The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel recently admitted a young bald eagle and two sea turtles – a loggerhead and a Kemp’s ridley, which were diagnosed with red tide poisoning.
On April 27, the juvenile bald eagle was admitted from Fort Myers. It was observed for over 24 hours on the ground without care from a parent. The eagle is at an age where it is still dependent on the parents for food and has not yet learned to fly. It is often called the “branching” stage as the young eagles begin to move from the nest onto nearby branches as they start to learn how to use their wings. Sometimes, the young eagles make mistakes and fall from the nest, which is likely the case for this one.
The eagle did not appear to have any broken bones based on its intake exam and “plop” radiographs – radiographs where the patient is not sedated or positioned for the radiograph – but its body condition was thin. Blood work also determined the eagle to be mildly anemic, possibly as a result of not eating.
The following morning, it was given iron and B12 to help with the anemia and was moved to an outside enclosure. The eagle has maintained a healthy appetite since being admitted to the hospital. A recheck of blood work on May 4 will help determine its future. If everything has returned to within normal limits, the young eagle may be returned to its nest.
A concern is that the nest has two other young eagles in it and when returned it, may be pushed back out of the nest by the siblings. Veterinarians may decide to wait until the young eagle is attempting short flights, or fledging, to return it to the area of the nest.
The loggerhead sea turtle was admitted on April 28 after it was found floating near the Burnt Store Marina in Cape Coral. The Kemp’s ridley was admitted on April 29 after being found floundering in the water near mile marker 8 off Marco Island. The loggerhead is a subadult that weighs 59 kilograms or 130 pounds, while the Kemp’s ridley is a juvenile weighing just 14.4 kilograms or 32 pounds.
Based on clinical signs, both turtles were suffering from brevetoxicosis, or red tide poisoning. They were each “dry-docked” for the first 24 hours, then placed in a shallow pool containing freshwater before being reintroduced to saltwater. Both turtles received a novel treatment for brevetoxicosis as part of an ongoing study.