Bald Eagle Rescue Photos: Blood Draw On Eagle

Bald Eagle Rescue Photos: Blood Draw On Eagle

A Bald Eagle is alive and well today thanks to the extraordinary efforts of some very caring individuals and Avian Haven.

These photos document the exciting rescue. Click here for the full story.

Marc (left) and Terry (right) drawing blood. (Photo courtesy of Amy Ruksznis.)

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bald eagle undergoing treatment for lead poisoning in DC dies

UPDATE 12/07/17 10:08 a.m.: A local wildlife rehab center reports that the bald eagle that was brought in for treatment for lead poisoning Tuesday night has died.

Paula Goldberg, Executive Director at City Wildlife says that while it was clear the eagle had lead poisoning, there may have been other issues as well.

When it was examined, City Wildlife Clinic Director and Veterinarian Kristy Jacobus said the prognosis was “guarded.”

EARLIER: 12/06/17 4:49 p.m.:

WASHINGTON — The phone rings inside the building on Oglethorpe Street in Northwest D.C.

“City Wildlife this is Paula.”

Paula Goldberg answers the phone. She’s the executive director of the nonprofit, which takes care of animals ranging from orphaned possums to stranded box turtles — even a trio of pigeons who were somehow evicted from their nests a little too soon.

The latest arrival is a bald eagle that was brought in from Southern Maryland on Tuesday afternoon. The big raptor was found on the ground, his feet splayed out at an odd angle. Even before she drew blood from the big bird to figure out what the problem was, City Wildlife clinic director and veterinarian Kristy Jacobus suspected she was looking at a case of lead poisoning.

“When it came in, the main thing we noticed was that he was sitting kind of weird,” Jacobus said. Normally, an eagle or another raptor would be standing up straight, feet flat, or talons grasping at objects. Instead, this bird, which was otherwise bright and alert, was sitting back, feet out in front of him, and wings opened to support his weight.

A blood sample confirmed Jacobus’ suspicion: The eagle had an elevated lead level. Ideally, wild animals would have a lead level of zero, but the blood drawn showed this Bald Eagle had 24.5 micrograms per deciliter. “It isn’t the highest level of lead I’ve ever seen in my life, but it certainly is one to make him symptomatic.”

Treatment for the eagle will include a process called chelating — giving him agents that will bind to the lead and, in a sense, leach it out of the bird’s bloodstream.

The prognosis for this eagle is “I would say, guarded,” Jacobus said. “The thing with lead is, they can often respond well, but sometimes — they don’t. It’s going to be a day-to-day thing.”

City Wildlife said the eagle came from the Nanjemoy, Maryland, area. It’s not Freedom, Justice, Mr. or Mrs. President or any of their offspring — the best-known bald eagles in the D.C. area.

It’s not clear exactly how this eagle ingested the lead, but Jacobus says that since eagles scavenge, they often ingest lead from animals such as deer that have been shot. Waterfowl often ingest lead from sinkers used by anglers.

'Lucky' Symmetrical Shot of Bald Eagle Perfectly Reflected in Pond Stuns the Internet

Steve Biro captured the stunning, symmetrical shot of the eagle while visiting the Canadian Raptor Conservancy

An amateur wildlife photographer is enjoying an A-list moment of fame thanks to a brush with Bruce the bald eagle.

According to BBC, Steve Biro was visiting the Canadian Raptor Conservancy in Ontario, when he caught the eye of one of the sanctuary’s most famous residents.

“He was actually trying to brush me away from where I was perched,” the photographer said of Bruce’s reaction to his photo shoot.

The eagle flew low over a small pond, right at Biro, once he locked eyes with the man with the camera.

This dive allowed Biro to capture some stunning shots of the bird staring directly at the camera as the animal swooped over the reflective surface of the water.

Out of the many fantastic shots Biro got from this moment, one photo stood out to him from the rest.

“So lucky to capture a symmetrical reflection of this beautiful Bald Eagle coming straight at me!” Biro captioned the shot on Instagram.

“He’s squared up perfectly, both wings are touching the water,” the photographer told BBC about the same photo. “That was the one that struck me as as little more special than the others. But I still didn’t even know how it would resonate with people.”

Turns out others saw the photo the same way. After Biro posted the symmetrical shot on his Instagram and to Facebook photography groups, it began to go viral, ending up on the front page of Reddit.

It is a special moment for the man who started taking photos 10 years ago, and continues to enjoy the hobby because it makes him feel like a child seeing the world anew again.

Along with getting a well-deserved 15 minutes of fame from the Internet, Biro also received a real-life encounter he will never forget.

“The Eagle was literally flying inches over my head where I was sitting, it was an amazing experience!” Biro posted on Facebook along with a video of the jaw-dropping encounter.


The release of Bald Eagle #13-0174 at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge today went beautifully. A crowd of about 150 people were present as Dr. Dave released the eagle into a large field. When tossed into the air, the eagle quickly banked away from the crowd, and soared higher and higher, until it was out of sight.

Eagle Release In the News

Additional Release Photos:

Wildlife Center to Release Bald Eagle on Thursday, April 25

Eagle, Rescued from Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Treated at Wildlife Center, Will Be Released at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, a leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, will release a Bald Eagle on Thursday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach.

The release is free and open to the public. Please meet at the Refuge Headquarters building, 1324 Sandbridge Road, Virginia Beach. Individuals who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to the Center at [email protected]

Participating in the release will be Dr. Dave McRuer, Director of Veterinary Medicine at the Wildlife Center and one of the veterinarians who treated this eagle.

This Bald Eagle – an immature bird, and likely a male – was brought to the Wildlife Center in Waynesboro on March 9 and assigned Patient Number 13-0174 – the 174th patient of 2013. The volunteer transporter also brought four dead eagles from the same rescue site – near Birdsnest in Northampton County on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The unusual circumstances surrounding this eagle’s rescue and the death of the four other birds are being investigated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Dr. Dana Tedesco, the Center’s veterinary intern, gave the Bald Eagle a complete physical examination on March 9, including radiographs, initial blood work, and a lead test. The eagle had elevated lead levels radiographs also revealed multiple metal fragments in the bird’s digestive tract. Chelation therapy [designed to lower lead levels] was started Dr. Dana also started a “Metamucil slurry” tube-feeding plan so that the metal fragments would move quickly through the eagle’s digestive system.

By March 13, the eagle was showing improvement and was moved to one of the Center’s outdoor flight pens. The Center’s rehabilitation staff has been exercising the eagle in outdoor flight pens, gradually building up the bird’s stamina. During its recovery, the eagle has been one of the patients featured on Critter Cam, a live online broadcast through the Center’s website. The eagle is flying well after reviewing results from blood work done on April 22, Center veterinarians have cleared #13-0174 for release.

It is estimated that the Bald Eagle population of North America numbered about half a million before European settlement. With the loss of habitat, hunting, and the effects of DDT and other pesticides, the U.S. eagle population plummeted. In 1977, for example, there were fewer than 50 Bald Eagle nests in Virginia.

Today, the Bald Eagle population in Virginia is on the rebound. There are now more than 1,000 active Bald Eagle nests in the Commonwealth.

Since its founding in 1982, the Wildlife Center has treated scores of Bald Eagles, done extensive studies of environmental factors that affect eagles and other wildlife, and worked to reform laws and regulations to strengthen the protection afforded to Bald Eagles.

Every year, about 2,600 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to chipmunks – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care. “The goal of the Center is to restore our patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild,” Wildlife Center President and Co-founder Ed Clark has said. “At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release.”

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine. Since its founding in 1982, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 60,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wildlife, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife.

In July 2011, the Center launched Critter Cam, which has allowed wildlife enthusiasts around the world to watch a variety of Center patients, including #13-0174. During its first year of operation, the Critter Cam site was visited more than two million times. A link to Critter Cam may be found on the Center’s homepage –

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is one of more than 550 refuges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Back Bay NWR contains more than 9,100 acres habitats include beach, dunes, woodlands, farm fields, and marshes. Back Bay NWR will mark its 75th anniversary on June 8. Additional information about Back Bay is available at

Note to the Press: Media representatives are invited to attend the release. Please contact Randy Huwa at 540.942.9453 or at [email protected] to RSVP.

Photos of patients treated at the Wildlife Center, including the Bald Eagle to be released on Thursday, are available. Please contact Randy Huwa at 540.942.9453 or at [email protected]

The rehabilitation staff report that Bald Eagle #13-0174 has been flying very well throughout the past week. They are pleased with his current level of conditioning, so on Monday, April 22, the veterinary team drew pre-release blood work. After the diagnostic team analyzed and report the results, Dr. Rich cleared the eagle for release. Dr. Dave will band the eagle with both federal and state leg bands on Wednesday, April 24.

The Bald Eagle will be released on Thursday, April 25 at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Dr. Dave will be present for the 2:00 p.m. release, which is open to the public. If you will be attending the release, please email [email protected] The release will take place at Ashville Bridge Creek Environmental Education Center at 3022 New Bridge Road.

The rehabilitation staff began exercising Bald Eagle #13-0174 on April 15. Amber reports that during the first session, the Bald Eagle flew quite well – the bird was able to fly ten laps perch-to-perch. Exercise and monitoring will continue this week.

Bald Eagle #13-0174 was moved to flight pen A1 on the morning of April 11. Housing the eagle by itself will allow the rehabilitation staff to begin exercising the eagle on the weekend of April 13.

Bald Eagle #13-0174 has been eating well during the past two weeks. Critter Cam viewers have likely noticed the colorful “bumpers” that offer protection to the eagle’s carpi [wrists] the carpal bumpers are a routine preventative measure that the Wildlife Center veterinary team take to ensure that the eagles do not injure themselves when flying in the large flight pen.

Within the last week, Bald Eagle #13-0174 managed to remove one of the bumpers – and did have a small wound on its right carpus when the veterinary team caught the eagle for a routine foot and feather check on April 8. Dr. Rich cleaned the carpus and reapplied the protective bumpers.

As soon as Turkey Vulture #13-0166 is released, the Bald Eagle will be moved into flight pen A1 so that it may be exercised and conditioned for release.

Bald Eagle #13-0174 has been eating well this week. The rehab staff report that the eagle has been eating a whole rat each day. The bird currently weighs in at 3.48 kgs – a higher weight than when it was first admitted.

On March 20, the Bald Eagle had additional blood work performed, which revealed a mildly elevated liver value. This could be caused by heavy metal toxicity [for example, lead], pesticide poisoning, or a different toxin it could also be the result of an infection or virus. There are many variables, but because the eagle is stable and now eating well, the bird will simply be monitored. Additional blood work will be performed on April 3.

Because the eagle’s appetite is much improved, the veterinary team decided to move the bird back into a larger space for additional monitoring. The eagle was moved to flight pen A2 on March 27 – to share a space with Bald Eagle #11-0230. Watch for the two eagles on Critter Cam!

Since mid-March, the eagle has shown little interest in eating food on its own, and the veterinary staff hand-fed the bird for several days.

For two days in a row – March 23 and 24 – rehabilitation staff noted that Bald Eagle #13-0174 ate nearly all of its meal, and hand-feeding was not required. On March 25, the eagle had once again not eaten its meal it is possible that the bird was deterred from eating due to the snowfall on the night of March 24.

Because the bird has gained weight, the veterinary staff feel that hand-feeding is not necessary at this point. If the bird fails to eat on its own or loses weight, the veterinary staff will resume hand-feeding.

Bald Eagle #13-0174 has been inconsistently eating over the past several days. To ensure the eagle receives proper sustenance, the vet staff will hand-feed the bird on the days it does not eat on its own.

On March 18, the eagle was moved to a smaller C-pen until the bird begins to eat on its own in a smaller flight pen, the staff can more easily catch the eagle for hand-feeding.

Follow-up blood work is scheduled for March 20.

Bald Eagle #13-0174 appears to be doing well in A3, the Center’s largest flight pen. The bird is able to fly to the high perches in the enclosure. The staff will continue to monitor the quality of the bird’s flight, appetite, and endurance after prolonged flight. Tune in to the Center’s Critter Cam to observe this bird in action!

Dr. Rich, the Center’s veterinary fellow, took an additional set of radiographs of Bald Eagle #13-0174 on March 12. Dr. Rich reports that it appears as though all metal has moved through the eagle’s system in the past few days. The eagle remains bright and alert.

An additional lead test was performed this morning the results were 0.178 ppm, indicating that chelation therapy was effective. The eagle will be moved to flight pen A3 after the afternoon treatments today.

When it Comes to Rodent Control, Consider Alternatives to Poison

Spring is in the air and rodents may be in your garage, attic, closets, cabinets, tool shed or yard. It’s a busy time for pest control companies and rodenticide sales. But nature can control rodent populations, if you let it. In the natural environment, there is balance. Every creature is prey to some animals and predator to others.

Raptors – owls, hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures – are rodents’ natural predators. If you actively protect them and their habitat, you won’t need to spend money on poisons and put desirable wildlife, pets and children at risk of accidental poisoning. Environmentally friendly tactics (such as providing tall trees that raptors favor) will encourage these birds of prey to hang around your yard and remove rodents for you.

Most raptors use the same nest for many years and some even pass from one generation to the next. Bald eagles are known to have used the same nest as long as 35 years. That makes them an excellent long-term control for rodent populations in the immediate area.

During breeding season, a family of five owls can eat as many as 3,000 rodents! You can encourage them by hanging a nest box on your property, but please don’t do that if you or any of your neighbors are using anticoagulant rodenticides. Remember that poisoned rodents can poison the predators, scavengers and pets that eat them!

Even though the state Department of Pesticide Regulation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have restricted public access to the most dangerous rodenticides, all rodenticides – including the types still available to consumers – are poisons that can kill wildlife, pets and children.

Unfortunately, even after stricter regulations on rodenticides were enacted, wildlife continue to be exposed to second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum and difethialone). Licensed pest control companies and agricultural producers are still free to use them. If consumers hire pest control companies, they should know that the materials the firms use could poison local wildlife. Only consumers can ensure that it doesn’t. The most effective pest control does not involve chemicals, but sanitation and exclusion.

Like most animals, rodents will congregate and multiply where food is available and they feel safe. The easiest way to discourage them is to remove or modify anything that could make them comfortable. Sanitation is the first step to controlling rodents. For example:

  • Keep your home and yard neat and clean. Don’t give rats places to hide.
  • Remove objects and plants that rodents can hide under, such as wood piles, debris, construction waste, dense vegetation and ground-covering vines like ivy.
  • Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees as soon as possible.
  • Secure your garbage in a tightly sealed can.
  • Seal water leaks and remove standing water that can attract unwelcome animals, breed mosquitoes and waste water.

To remove unwelcome rodents, set traps in secluded areas where they’ve been seen or are likely to travel: close to walls, behind objects, in dark corners, on ledges, shelves, fences, pipes and garage rafters. In areas where children, pets or birds might go, put the trap inside a box or use some kind of barrier for their safety. Check traps daily and wear disposable gloves when removing rodents from traps. Place them in a sealed plastic bag then into your garbage bin for weekly collection. Wash your hands after handling traps or rodents, even when using gloves.

Once you’ve removed mice and rats from inside the building, seal the entries they used to get in: openings where cables, wires and pipes enter buildings, and cracks or holes in the foundation, walls and roofs. Rodents can squeeze into holes as narrow as ½ inch diameter! Use hardware mesh and concrete, plaster or metal whenever possible. At the very least, stuff stainless steel or copper pot scrubbers, or Stuf-fit copper mesh wool into the spaces. All of these are sold online and at hardware and dollar stores.

If you feel you must use “rat poison,” please carefully follow the label directions for all rodenticides. Only use them in small treatment areas indoors or right against building walls in tamper-resistant bait stations, never out in open field or garden areas, where they’re most likely to reach wildlife and pets. Much more information and practical advice can be found on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at

Juvenile great horned owl. Photo (c) by Phil Robertson

" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="A juvenile great horned owl with fuzzy feathers, perched on a weathered board" srcset=" 218w, 109w" sizes="(max-width: 218px) 100vw, 218px" /> Juvenile great horned owl. Photo by Phil Robertson

Media Contacts:
Stella McMillin, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2954
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

Watch the video: The Truth About Bald Eagles