PATIENT: Bald Eagle, #11-0475, NX
LOCATION OF RESCUE: Northumberland County, Virginia
CAUSE OF ADMISSION: Suspected hit by car
ADMISSION DATE: December 2, 2011
NX, a juvenile Bald Eagle rescued from her nest at the Norfolk Botanical Garden earlier this year and treated and released by the Wildlife Center, was admitted to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator in the Northern Neck on December 1. The injured eagle was found at 10:45 p.m. in the middle of the road near the Ophelia post office and was picked up by a local animal control officer.
The preliminary report from the permitted rehabilitator was that NX had a wing droop and blood in her mouth, but was feisty and in good condition.
Two transporters made room in their schedules to immediately transport NX to the Wildlife Center. The bird arrived on December 2 at about 2:10 p.m. and was standing in her transport crate.
Dr. Dave McRuer examined NX and found injuries to her right wing and eye. There were abrasions on her right carpus [wrist], which were sutured together using a skin stapler. Dr. Dave also found a one-square-centimeter laceration on her right wing and the vitreous of NX’s right eye also showed some damage. NX also had subcutaneous emphysema [air under the skin] on the left side of her chest. All of these injuries suggest that perhaps NX was hit by a car, though we may know more once radiographs are performed. Blood work revealed that lead levels are “low”, meaning that lead toxicity is not an issue.
Dr. Dave removed NX’s transmitter so that it does not become damaged or get in the way of any diagnostics. Everything about the transmitter and fitting looked great!
All physical exams start with an eye check:
NX weighed in at 4.035 kg. When she was released in August 2011, she was 4.18 kg — which means she was doing just fine finding her food out in the wild. Both weights were with her transmitter on.
Dr. Dave and team will perform a set of radiographs on NX on December 3.
December 3 update
Dr. Dave reported that NX was standing this morning when he checked on her. She was anesthetized for radiographs and a more thorough physical examination. Today, Dr. Dave found an open wound on the left wing [which was flushed and sutured] and soft-tissue swelling over the right wrist [although the bones and tendons seem fine].
A familiar band …
Two additional areas of concern:
GI tract. NX regurgitated overnight; her crop was empty this morning. Radiographs revealed a distended stomach. NX will be given some mice/small chunks of rat this evening to see if she will eat. Dr. Dave would like to take a look at NX’s GI tract within the next week, using the Center’s new endoscope.
Left shoulder. NX’s left shoulder looks slightly drooped, and there may be a slight decreased range of motion. Dr. Dave spotted what might be a small fracture on the head of the coracoid; additional radiographs [after shoulder swelling has subsided] may provide more insights. To be on the safe side, the Center’s veterinary team wrapped NX’s left wing in a body wrap.
Dr. Dave thinks these injuries are consistent with NX having been struck by a vehicle.
5:00 p.m. update:
When the veterinary team checked on NX at the end of the day, they found that she ate all of meal — a small meal of chopped rat/mice. The team hopes that she will keep the meal down overnight.
NX's release video