The bald eagle rescued by the Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center on December 15 with a life-threatening gunshot wound has made its first step to returning to the wild.
"We are happy to report that the wounded bald eagle was able to breathe fresh air and enjoy the sunlight for the first time in two weeks," said Matthew Randazzo, public relations director at the Center.
Recovered outside of Beaver with a fractured ulna bone in its left wing caused by a bullet believed to have been shot from a.22-caliber rifle, the juvenile male bald eagle is currently recuperating at a local veterinary hospital. After cleaning, treating, and bandaging the wound, the veterinarians and Jaye Moore,
Raptor Center director, decided to wait to see if the fracture in the eagle's wing would naturally mend before resorting to surgery. To aid in its recovery, it was decided that the eagle was strong enough to be placed in an outdoor cage during nice weather.
"We freshly re-bandaged the wing and decided to try occasionally placing him outside in a wire cage in a secluded sunny spot,” Moore said.
“Even when confined, eagles are much more comfortable psychologically outside than inside, and we saw an instant improvement in his alertness and mood once the sunlight hit his face and the fresh air filled his lungs. He's a fighter, and we're hoping that being reminded of his ultimate goal - flying free in the wild - will encourage him to keep fighting. It's also important to make sure he stays acclimated to being outside to ensure he can fully rehabilitate."
Center staff will soon decide with the veterinary hospital whether surgery is necessary on the wing.
The investigation for the shooter is ongoing.
“Our ultimate goal is for the eagle and the shooter to exchange lifestyles,” Randazzo said.
“We want this innocent bird to enjoy life outside of captivity, and we want the guilty person arrested and caged up in a jail cell.”
Tips leading to the capture of the person who shot this eagle can be sent to Matthew@NWRaptorCenter.com and to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1-877-933-9847.