10132015 Bald Eagle, Lady Eagle
October 13, 2015 around 4:00pm, Soarin’ Hawk received a call from the DNR. "I have the call of a life time “said Steuben County Conservation Officer, Jim Price. He claimed it was a bald eagle.
After a perfect description, we verified this was true, loaded up the JEEP, and headed to Shipshewana. We arrived and were met by Dennis Thornburg. He led us behind a house and through a corn field. We looked for the eagle along the fence row where she had been spotted earlier. Once we found her we got the Go-Pro & gloves ready.
It took three people and a truck to surround her, and get positioned to safely capture her. When we were able to get close we noticed that she was hopping on one leg and flapping her wings but not flying. She attempted to escape into some blackberry briers but we were able to catch her before she injured herself further.
Upon obsevation in an outdoor pen at Soarin' Hawk, the eagle was putting almost no weight on her right leg. She was only able to get on a very short perch on the ground.
On examination by a veterinarian, she had pain on palpation of her right wrist and her right leg. No obvious injuries were found on the initial exam. Radiographs of both the wing and leg did not reveal any bony injuries. The injuries appeared to be all soft tissue damage. She was given an anti-inflammatory, plenty of food and rest.
After approximately a month she was no longer limping so she was moved to a pen approximately 16'x24' so she could exercise more. When she began flying around the pen with no apparent difficulty, we began conditioning her for release. This is done by creance flying her; she is attached via anklets to a 300 foot long line and allowed to fly to the end. She is gently stopped at the end of the line, picked up and taken back to fly again. We begin with only a few flights and with each session it is increased until she is flying 40 times the full length of the line. The end of November was her first session. She improved but then began flying with more difficulty after her fourth session. Assuming we were aggravating the initial injury, we stopped the conditioning and let her rest for another 6 weeks. When we started her conditioning again in January, she progressed wonderfully.
We try and release the birds back to where we found them. At her age, she will be 5 this spring based on her coloration, she may very well have a nest and a mate. We hope they will reunite after she is released.
Feb 14, 201
Lady Eagle released today ! Check out the video on home page
Thank you to the television and newspaper reporters and private photographers who kindly provided coverage for this event:
KPCNEWS.com, Patrick Redmond