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Released! Aquila flies free

Juneau Raptor Center sets free rehabilitated bald eagle

Posted: July 13, 2012 - 12:00am
The Juneau Raptor Center released "Aquila" Wednesday evening near the Juneau Police Department. This bird is a juvenile bald eagle and was found unresponsive on June 30 in Juneau.  JRC volunteers nursed the bird back to health.   Courtesy of Kathy Benner
Courtesy of Kathy Benner
The Juneau Raptor Center released "Aquila" Wednesday evening near the Juneau Police Department. This bird is a juvenile bald eagle and was found unresponsive on June 30 in Juneau. JRC volunteers nursed the bird back to health.

NAME: Aquila.

TYPE OF BIRD: Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).

WHEN RESCUED: June 30.

WHAT HAPPENED: The Juneau Raptor Center received a call early one morning in June about a juvenile bald eagle on the ground in the caller’s back yard. Volunteers responded and found that eagle non-responsive and on the ground, soaking wet.

INJURIES: Upon inspection, no immediate injuries were found.

CARE: The female eagle, later named Aquila, was given antibiotics, subcutaneous fluids (to re-hydrate), treated for bugs, placed on shredded paper inside a kennel which was heated by a heating pad underneath.

The bird was not skinny.

That evening, Aquila had improved and was no longer laying down all the time. She was given antibiotics, tube fed with a mixture of Pedialyte, Nutrical and charcoal (in case she may have ingested something poisonous), and also received subcutaneous fluids.

The next day the bird was again tube fed, and offered liver, which she refused.

On July 3, the bird was much more interested in food and had begun acting more like a healthy eagle. The decision was made to offer her a chance for exercise. Aquila was placed in the flight mew — with varying heights of perches — where she immediately flew to the highest perches. During this time, Aquila shared the space with Stikine, a rehabilitating adult bald eagle. When Aquila reached the high perch, Stikine tried to push her off. Volunteers soon became certain both birds are female, as they reported both being very pushy and loud.

RELEASE: Aquila was successfully released Wednesday. Approximately 30 people watched the release, including the woman that found the nearly-comatose bird on her property. The bird immediately exited the kennel, launched herself into the air and then appeared to head back to the area where volunteers suspect she lives.

MORE ABOUT THE BALD EAGLE: According to the Alaska Department of Game’s Wildlife Notebook, juvenile eagles leave the nest after approximately 75 days. They do not attain adult plumage and breed until 4 or 5 years of age. After the breeding season, bald eagles congregate where food is plentiful, and they may continue to roost near the nest tree. Reproductive success can be affected by pesticides in the eagles’ prey. Alaska bald eagles seem to be reproductively healthy, but contaminants have been recorded in Alaska fish populations and in bald eagles.

• Message phone for the Juneau Raptor Center, 586-8393; emergency pager, 790-5424; or for more information about the JRC, go online to juneauraptorcenter.org.

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