January 10, 2022

Willowbrook Wildlife Center Treating Two Bald Eagles

Treating Two Bald Eagles

The Willowbrook Wildlife Center, which is a part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, currently has two bald eagles in its care. The rehab center hasn’t had two eagles in at the same time since 2014. One bird, who’s most likely a female, was the center’s second to last patient of 2021. X-rays showed she has two fractures in the shoulder area.

“And that clavicle is important, but that coracoid is very important because it’s this big strut bone that basically keeps the birds from collapsing as they fly,” said Sarah Reich, head veterinarian at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center. “And so it is absolutely needed to be intact for flight.”

Reich is hopeful with time and stabilization, the fractures will heal and the majestic bird can take flight once again. But that won’t be for another few months.

First Patient of 2022

Willowbrook’s first patient of 2022 was found by volunteer group Chicago Bird Collision Monitors. The majestic bird had been sitting in a puddle for three hours. Upon intake, the eagle wasn’t feisty which is in their nature, had a pale gum color, and there was a lot of dried blood on its underside, tail, and leg.

“Originally we were like, ‘ok was this bird shot?’ Because people do shoot things that they shouldn’t unfortunately. So our first step was to get some X-rays,” said Reich. “Thankfully we didn’t see any gunshot pellets, any fractures or anything like that. So then our next step was to draw blood.”

Results showed that the eagle was anemic. The major issue was that the bald eagle’s blood didn’t clot. Taking in all this information, the center found that “this bird is more than likely suffering from rodenticide. So got into either some rodent bait or more likely ate another animal that got into the rodent bait so this is what is called a secondary exposure,” said Reich.

Exposure to rodenticide is treated with vitamin K, which will take at least a month. Reich said their first patient of the year has become more feisty and hopes for a full recovery. In 2021, the Willowbrook Wildlife Center treated over 11,500 animals – the most they’ve ever taken in.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.

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