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On May 3, the Juneau Raptor Center released three bald eagles. Here are their stories.
Truston, a juvenile bald eagle, came from Hoonah on Dec. 31, 2007. He was unable to fly due to a wound on his wing, just above the elbows, in the soft tissue known as the petagium. Because part of the muscle was torn away, it was unclear to the Juneau Raptor Center whether he would ever fly again.
Volunteers took Truston to a local veterinary clinic, where doctors cut away the muscle tissue that was hanging loose. According to the raptor center, the wound soon began healing with antibiotics and numerous salves to the area.
Truston finally healed enough to be moved to the flight enclosure for flight training and to build up his strength.
Gus, a juvenile bald eagle, was brought into the Juneau Raptor Center on July 21, 2007, from Gustavus with the diagnosis of "failure to thrive."
Raptor center volunteers found nothing specifically wrong with Gus, other than that he was weak and thin. Therefore, he was given a round of antibiotics and put in the flight enclosure.
According to the center, Gus gained strength, but very slowly. It took him a very long time to get up to the highest perches and fly around. Fortunately, this young eagle now appears ready and able to make it in the wild.
Pete, an adult bald eagle, was spotted on April 23 lying down near the side of the road about a mile north of Eagle Beach. After a phone call to the raptor center, a volunteer was dispatched to capture the bird. In the meantime, he had moved from the side of the road to a grassy area between the beach and the road, where he was finally captured.
At that point, Pete could not stand. Volunteers wondered if he would survive the night. A caregiver noticed the bird's crop was bulging, probably due to crop stasis, a bird ailment in which food does not move normally from the crop down into the digestive system. The volunteer was able to extract a lot of the old food by milking the crop.
After a day of laying down, the bird started to stand and seemed to be on the road to recovery. He has improved rapidly and is already strong enough for release.
For more information on the Juneau Raptor Center or how to become a member, call 586-8393 or visit www.juneauraptorcenter.org. The center's emergency pager is 790-5424.