Two Bald Eagles Receiving Special Care At Dane County Humane Society

Posted Monday, August 20, 2012 --- 11:20 a.m.

From the Dane County Humane Society:

MADISON, WI – For the past three months, Dane County Humane Society’s (DCHS) Four Lakes Wildlife Center (FLWC) has been treating two bald eagle patients. The outdoor flight pen that they are currently in is not large enough for them and they will soon be transferred to a facility with a more adequate area for the final phase of their recovery.

The first bald eagle was an adult that had originally been admitted to Exceptional Care for Animals (ECA), an emergency veterinary clinic. When found, the eagle was recumbent and only able to fly short distances. Blood tests revealed dehydration and malnourishment, but x-rays revealed no broken bones or abnormal swellings. ECA transferred him to Dane County Humane Society at the end of June. When the eagle first arrived to DCHS, he had to be force fed minnows in order to keep him alive and to improve his body condition. Although initially in rough condition, the eagle’s attitude was overall bright and alert. Since receiving care at FLWC, the eagle’s condition has greatly improved and he is now eating large amounts of herring and rats.

The second bald eagle patient came to DCHS also via ECA about a week after the first. This eagle was much younger, likely born just this year, and still had a completely brown head. Bald eagles do not get their white head and tail until reaching sexual maturity around 5 years of age. This young eagle was found near the Mississippi River where a resident had seen him on the ground with what appeared to be a wing or leg problem. It had also been drinking out of a pool that had been treated with chlorine and bleach, both of which could case extreme medical issues. Unfortunately, this eagle was dehydrated and much thinner than the first. He needed to be force fed high calorie foods via a feeding tube along with subcutaneous fluids multiple times a day. The young eagle thankfully quickly progressed to eating mice and fish. His condition and strength have improved rapidly.

Although the two eagles did not come from the same area, FLWC successfully introduced them and they have been coexisting in a large 50 ft. outdoor flight pen. The pen is not large enough for their final stage of recovery which includes flight conditioning so plans are in place for the two eagles to be transferred to Raptor Education Group, Inc *(REGI) in Antigo, WI.

After a short time in the larger REGI flight conditioning pen, DCHS anticipates the older eagle will be ready to be released this fall. The young eagle will be released during the winter season when large groups of eagles congregate near open water. Young bald eagles need to be taught how to fish and hunt and spend much of their first year living off the prey caught by its elders.

DCHS’s wildlife rehab program is currently in the early stages of building a 100 ft. outdoor flight pen so that they can continue to help larger raptors that need that space for recovery and gaining flight strength. To contribute directly to the 100 ft. flight pen project, and also to all of the other wildlife being cared for at FLWC, please go to and donate to the Four Lakes Wildlife Center program. You can also call, mail or drop off your donation at Dane County Humane Society’s main shelter (608-838-0413, 5132 Voges Road, Madison WI 53718) – with the attention: FLWC.

Madison’s community may be aware of the important role DCHS plays in the lives’ of stray, surrendered and neglected domestic animals. However, few people know about DCHS’ role with wildlife rehabilitation. At DCHS there is an entire program dedicated to caring for ill, orphaned and injured wild animals with the goal of returning them to their natural habitat. DCHS’s Four Lakes Wildlife Center has already this year helped care for an array of animals such as foxes, turkeys, song birds, mallards, hawks, owls, herons and now a Bald Eagle.

To keep the eagles and the other wild animals currently being cared for as calm as possible, the general public is not allowed to view any of the animals.

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