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Bald eagle released from CROW after 6-month rehab

By Staff | Sep 23, 2020


The Clinic for the Rehabilitation for Wildlife (CROW) released an adult bald eagle in Estero on Sunday after a six-month stint in rehab for injuries likely suffered in a fight with another eagle.

The eagle was rescued on March 10, not far from the release site, after being found unable to fly. Upon being admitted to CROW, veterinarians found the eagle’s feathers in shambles along with several small scabs and a wound on its leg that required several days of bandaging to help it heal. Although the sex could not be determined without further tests, the eagle was presumed to be male based on its size and weight.

“There was a lot of feather damage, some tattering, some breakage and some feathers missing completely,” according to Breanna Frankel, CROW’s rehabilitation manager. “He was missing seven of the ten primary flight feathers and some of the secondary feathers on his right wing along with several damaged feathers on the left wing and tail.”

A feather transplant, called “imping”, using feathers from deceased eagles donated by other rehab centers was performed in April. The new feathers, along with physical therapy performed by the rehab team, allowed the eagle to maintain strength in the muscles which are needed for flight while the other damaged feathers regrew.

“At the imping procedure, we swabbed his feather follicles and found that he had a certain type of infection, so we had to change our course of antibiotics to target his issue,” says Frankel. “There was also significant swelling around the feather follicles on the right wing, a condition called folliculitis.”

Once the infections cleared, it became a waiting game for the eagle to regrow enough healthy feathers that it was able to fly. Over the next several months, he was monitored very closely for feather growth, flight conditioning, and overall health.

“The eagle spent a total of 195 days in care. That’s 195 days worth of rats, fish and other food items, along with medications, bandages and other medical supplies needed for this eagle to be ready for release,” says Alison Charney Hussey, CROW’s executive director. “We are so thankful for our community who provided for this eagle and all of the other patients admitted our hospital with their donations and financial support.”

To help provide care to wildlife patients admitted to CROW’s hospital, please consider making a donation at www.CROWClinic.org or on CROW’s Facebook page.