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At the clinic

Juvenile bald eagle during a flight test prior to release

On January 22, 2018, a juvenile bald eagle was found down on the ground on a farm after having been seen flying erratically for 2 days prior. When state officials went to approach and catch the bird, it did not fly away like it normally should. Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife officials, not seeing any obvious wounds or explanation for the unusual behavior then decided to bring the eagle to Tufts for an evaluation. Upon intake, the eagle was very quiet and not reacting appropriately. Bloodwork, including screening for lead poisoning, along with radiographs (x-rays) and an ocular examination were performed. All tests were normal, so the bird was given supportive care (fluids and pain medication) and was given time in a quiet recovery cage. The eagle’s attitude and strength were much improved the day following admission and were deemed normal on the second day after admission. The eagle was then moved a large flight aviary and was immediately able to fly normally and strongly. After a week at the clinic, the eagle was given its final exam and flight evaluation and was given a clean bill of health. Identification bands were placed on its legs by Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife officials, and the eagle was released back into the wild on January 31, 2018. As no significant injuries were found, clinic veterinarians presumed the eagle may have suffered minor head trauma by colliding with a vehicle or structure. To see a video of the release, click here: Eagle release.