Recent rescue @ the Juneau Raptor Center: Bald Eagle

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011

TYPE OF BIRD: Adult bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).

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Photo Courtesy of Jose Colon
Photo Courtesy of Jose Colon

WHEN RESCUED: October 2010.

WHAT HAPPENED: Last fall the Juneau Raptor Center received an adult bald eagle with a suspected broken right wing.

INJURIES: Examination revealed the bird had a broken right humerus. Examiners were uncertain, but believed the break could be a compound fracture.

CARE: Volunteers immobilized the wing by splinting it to the body. Three weeks later, the treatment had worked. An x-ray revealed a nice callus had formed and the bird was cleared to go into the flight mew.

UPDATE: As Feb. 15, the bird had progressed. He’s able to reach the highest perches in the flight mew and has good maneuverability and flight ability.

RELEASE: A spring release is planned when more food becomes available.

MORE ABOUT THE BALD EAGLE: Fish are a mainstay in the diet of these eagles. They prefer various species, all of which are taken along the coast, in rivers or as available. Bald eagles will also eat waterfowl, small mammals, sea urchins, clams, crabs and carrion. One misconception about these big birds is that they cannot let go of prey captured in their talons voluntarily. When a bald eagle captures something too heavy to lift, such as a salmon, it will chose to swim, towing the meal to shore, rather than let it go.

• Message phone for the JRC, 586-8393; online at

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