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CROW helping injured bald eagle recover

Eagle was found in canal in Cape Coral unable to fly

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Nov 23, 2020

CROW staff attend to an injured bald eagle undergoing treatment.

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel admitted a bald eagle rescued from a canal in Cape Coral Nov. 8. Unable to fly, CROW veterinarians and staff used radiographs to help determine the eagle suffered a fractured coracoid, one of the bones in the shoulder important for flight.

The eagle was rescued from the South Spreader Waterway just south of Veterans Parkway, CROW public relations manager Brian Bohlman said. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the eagle was spotted by a boater who rescued the bird by picking up the eagle and placing it in their vessel. Bohlman said the eagle was pulled from the water, out of the canal and wouldn’t fly. The eagle was taken to a CROW drop-off location at Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Fort Myers and then picked up and transported to CROW the following morning by one of our staff members.

According to CROW, the type of fracture suffered by the eagle is able to heal without surgery if the affected wing is immobilized. The team placed the eagle in a body wrap to subdue the wing and provided pain and anti-inflammatory medications. The eagle will undergo physical therapy every few days to ensure the joints maintain a normal range of motion as the fracture heals.

On Wednesday, Dr. Sasha Troiano said “the eagle remains in a body wrap to immobilize the injured wing. It received physical therapy today to help maintain range of motion and prevent the ligaments in the wing from contracting due to not being used. During the physical therapy session, the eagle showed good range of motion and we could not feel any signs of contracture.”

After the eagle has been in the body wrap for three weeks, Troiano said the wrap will be removed and the eagle will do a couple weeks of cage rest. “At that point, we will re-check radiographs to ensure that the fracture is healing properly and if so, the eagle will then be moved outside for further rehabilitation.”

It’s impossible to know the bird was injured since it was not witnessed, Troiano said. “A couple possible causes of this type of injury would be a territorial fight with another eagle or being hit by a vehicle,” Troiano said. Troiano said it is currently nesting season in Florida.

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States. Once critically endangered, the bird has made a comeback and and was taken off the federally endangered species list in 2007.