Injured juvenile eagle makes full recovery

  • Mar. 16, 2015 8:00 a.m.

By Quinn BenderHaida Gwaii ObserverIt appears the sick eagle brought in for treatment at the Sandspit Bird Rehabilitation Facility had been struck by a car shortly before it was found on the roadside near Skidegate early this year. Nonetheless, its caregivers are happy to report the eagle has made a full recovery and was recently released back into the wild.”When it was first brought to us about three weeks ago or so it was very lively but very reluctant to eat anything,” says Peter Grundman, who cared for the bird alongside partner Nancy Robbins. “We fed it very small bits of herring with pliers (not putting my hand there!) and had to entice it to eat bit by bit the first few days. It didn’t really appear emaciated to us, which was a bit of a mystery as it didn’t explain its altered mental status by the side of the road.”A few of the Saints basketball team members had come across the stunned juvenile eagle in January. Not wishing to cause any more harm to the eagle or themselves, they covered the juvenile eagle with a blanket and safely transferred it to the local conservation office, from where it was eventually brought to Mr. Grundman and Ms. Robbins through the approval of a local veterinarian.  After a few days of feeding and receiving intermittent warmth and light from an infrared lamp, Mr. Grundman says it became worried about its own confinement, at which point it was moved to the 80-foot-long outdoor flight pen.  “It flew fairly well right away but it took another week or so before it was rejecting this enclosure too and was flying around frantically and even landing on the ceiling upside down,” Mr. Grundman says. “At this point we felt it was best to release it.”On Feb 19 the young eagle was taken to the point of land near the Haida Gwaii Museum and allowed to “bust out” of a cardboard box used for transport. “It burst out of the box and immediately took flight and landed about 30 feet up a tree,” Mr. Grundman says. “After a while it took off toward Skidegate landing and I lost sight of it.”Once again I’d like to thank everyone involved who put in such effort toward helping out with this-the rescuers, Dr. Don and Leslie at Richardson Ranch, and Buster the conservation officer. I  just want to remind everyone also that eagles have very dangerous talons which are very sharp and powerful, and difficult to open when they close on anything such as hands, feet, legs, etc. They still work well usually even when a bird is weak.”

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