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UPDATE: CROW humanely euthanizes eagle

By Staff | Nov 20, 2019


UPDATE (Nov. 20, 2019):

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife reported that veterinarians made a very difficult decision on Nov. 19 to humanely euthanize the eagle despite their best efforts to be able to save the wing. That morning, veterinarians anesthetized the eagle for a bandage change and potential skin graft if the wound was healthy enough. Unfortunately, the tissue on the backside of the wound also had begun to die around the feather follicles. While a skin graft may have been possible for the front of the wound, it would not be possible to graft around the feathers on the backside. Additionally, the tendons of the wing which are vital to flight also had begun to die.


ORIGINAL (Nov. 15, 2019):

An adult bald eagle with injuries was admitted to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel for treatment recently after it was rescued near a construction site in Estero.


On Nov. 7, CROW received the eagle and conducted an intake exam. Veterinarians noted that it had wounds on its left wing and abrasions on both feet. In addition, its tongue appeared to be dried and was “stuck” in a way that it was out of the mouth, likely from an older injury that it has been living with.

The eagle’s feet and talons were washed to remove the mud, cement and debris caked on them. Due to the wounds, which may have been from fighting another eagle, getting them clean and determining the extent of the wounds was a priority. Other planned treatments included placing an IV catheter to help administer fluids, bandaging the wounds on the wing and feet, and starting the eagle on a feeding plan.

Over the next few days, the team provided wound management care for the laceration on the eagle’s wing and abrasions on its feet. While no broken bones or concerns were felt during the physical exam, radiographs were planned for the bird. The results of the radiographs did not show anything unusual.

On Nov. 12, the eagle underwent surgery. The initial plan was to surgically clean the wound on the wing and tongue, however, the wing ended up needing more attention than thought. The veterinarians removed what dead and infected tissue they could and bandaged the wound. It was decided the tongue would be addressed at a later date as it had a lower priority. The plan had been to remove the end of it, a portion of which is dead tissue, but leave most of it intact so as not to affect the eagle’s ability to eat.

Since the surgery, the team has been changing the bandage daily and removing some dead tissue.


“The biggest concern for them right now is the wound that’s on the wing,” Brian Bohlman, a spokesperson with CROW, said today. “It is a pretty severe wound.”

He noted that the veterinarians are providing wound management.

“They want to make sure that the site is staying moist and that good healthy tissue is coming in to help heal the wound,” Bohlman said, adding that the minor abrasions on the feet are doing pretty good.

The placement of the wound, among other things, throws out the option of amputating.

“It that doesn’t heal properly than the eagle won’t be able to fly,” he said. “The eagle’s life depends on that wing healing properly.”


Bohlman reported that the eagle has a “heavily guarded prognosis.”

“We’re taking it day-by-day and our veterinarians are using all of their expertise and resources to do what they can for that wing,” he said.