Juvenile Eagle Found in Wapsie River
Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation brought in a Bald Eagle on Monday. This eagle is approximately 3 years of age. This guesstimate is based on the lack of white feathering on his head. The white feathers we traditionally associate with Bald Eagles don’t start to develop until 4 or so years of age. He weighs about 9 pounds and Dr. Cherney thinks he is male based on his size and shape of his frame.
He was found in the Wapsie River by a Good Samaritan out walking his dog. The eagle was somewhat feisty (his 6 foot plus wing span filled up our treatment room), but he was not as active as one would expect. His weakened state made everyone concerned about the possibility of lead poisoning. With the help of Terese and Jim Evans of the Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project, Dr. Cherney examined him for injuries. She found none, but noted how thin he was. A blood sample was analyzed for lead. We were so relieved when the results came back negative. No lead found!
Dr. Cherney and the rehabbers feel that with all the hot and dry weather, food has become scarce. Birds of prey can be affected by the heat just like the rest of us, so this poor guy is most likely dehydrated and malnourished.
This eagle will be rehabbed, fed lots of good eats, and eventually will be released back into the wild. While this story has a happy ending, we are still concerned about lead poisoning and wildlife. We hope to spread the word to limit the use of lead shot and lead used in fishing gear. Thanks go out to the Good Samaritan who found him, the Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project and Dr. Cherney.