DAVENPORT, Iowa — A rescued bald eagle is receiving thorough veterinary care immediately after being rescued from a neighborhood in Bettendorf on Wednesday, March 23. The eagle is being cared for by Dr. Lauren Hughes, associate veterinarian at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center in Davenport.
"I do a normal triage like I do with most birds of prey where I get them in a nice quiet environment, keep it dark and keep a cover on the kennel that we keep them in," Dr. Hughes said. "You're looking for the same things you would in a parakeet or parrot but just on a bigger scale with these birds of prey."
Although it is exciting for the veterinary clinic to have a bald eagle in their building, the circumstance under which it is there is serious. There is a balance that is maintained between admiring the beauty of America's national symbol and keeping the wild animal as undisturbed as possible while it is out of its natural habitat.
"The most important thing we all have to keep in mind we really do try to minimize that stimulation. It's a balance of excitement and everyone wanting to see him, but also how to do that," Dr. Hughes said.
The bald eagle was rescued after falling from a tree. A concerned neighbor witnessed the bird fall. The woman called Scott County Conservationists to report the eagle. For three days prior to the rescue she observed the bald eagle hadn't moved from the tree, apparently going without food and water.
Screening by Dr. Hughes and an X-Ray showed no signs that the eagle had broken bones. The bird is male and, based on his mature white head, at least five years old. Blood work results obtained two days after the rescue indicate infection and inflammation in the bird.
There is one goal in mind for the wild animal.
"The sooner we can get him back into the wild the better. The nice thing is we know exactly where he was found. So that is ideal for releasing situations. You want to release them exactly where they're from originally."
While keeping the eagle as stress free as possible during its time of need at the clinic is Dr. Hughes' number one priority, she says seeing the national symbol up close is something special.
"It really puts things into perspective just how strong of a bird these guys are, how large they are and just how beautiful. Their feathering and coloration are gorgeous. They're just a very majestic looking bird and it's really really cool," said Dr. Hughes.
Three days after the rescue, the Eagle is heading to RARE Rehabilitation Center in Iowa City, Iowa. He is continuing to receive fluids and antibiotics to help with infection and inflammation.