The hatch-year (HY19) bald eagle from the nest near the Decorah Fish Hatchery and famous from the Raptor Resource Project nest camera tumbled to the ground under the nest on 5 June. Hatchery staff were alerted and the juvenile was safely retrieved and taken to the hatchery.
Also on 5 June, this eaglet began the journey to SOAR for evaluation and any treatment needed. During transfer to SOAR Executive Director, Kay Neumann, she provided an initial assessment. The eaglet has numerous bites near the eyes and nostrils (nares) and on the back of the head from buffalo gnats (AKA blackfly). These bites have left behind bloody scabs and left this eagle thin, anemic, and bit dehydrated. Kay could feel no fractures or swelling in the legs and wings. Bonus.
Kay also noted before she even picked up the juvenile that the tail and wing feathers were not long enough for this bird to fledge. Look at the photo included of the inside of the left wing. You can still see primary (flight) feathers encased in the sheath.
D33 is interested in food and ate 1/2 a quail on the ride to SOAR. More food and water was offered once in ICU. Pieces of beef heart are on the menu this evening. The heart muscle is high in iron to help combat the anemia.
We know that many, many, many people are concerned for this eagle’s welfare. As are we.
The abundance of blackfly / buffalo gnats is unfortunate, but part of the cycle of life. Wetland habitat improvement and development would provide quality environments for the blackfly natural predators – dragon and damselflies! **Watch for a separate post about the black fly!
As updates on D33 become available, those will be shared. Please understand that we have over 30 hatch-year raptors admitted already this year, in addition to other adult raptors needing care.
If you would like to support SOAR’s efforts in raptor rehabilitation, education, and research, please visit https://soarraptors.org/support-soar/
If you are one of the many that have already donated – thank you. Plus a special “shout out” to those of you who give monthly to support the work of SOAR.
A special thank you to RRP board member and wife, David and Ann for coordinating from afar, RRP board member Brett M, and the Iowa DNR Decorah Fish Hatchery staff for their support.