For Bald Eagle #11-1170, the circle of life began – and ended – at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
On June 5, 2011, the tiny eaglet was found on the ground in Fort Washington, Maryland. She had fallen from her nest, but her nest couldn’t be found. The bird, as it turned out, had some broken feathers and maggots at the base of her swollen tail. She was also a little thin. The eaglet made her way to the Wildlife Center for rehabilitation and eventual release to the wild.
Which it was on August 4, 2011, with a tag for future identification.
“Bald Eagle #11-1170 was released successfully at Mason Neck State Park, in front of a crowd of about 150 people,” the center announced at the time. “The eagle reportedly flew about 100 yards to a large tree to perch and checked out its surroundings.”
Bald Eagle #11-1170 was back at the center last week. The bird, by then four-years-old, was hit by vehicle in Quantico, Virginia on April 17.
“The Wildlife Center received a call from Quantico, a military base in Virginia, about an eagle that had been hit by a dump truck while feeding on a deer carcass,” the center said. “The bird was identified by her federal and state bands.”
The injured bird was taken the center the same day. That’s when Dr. Meghan Feeney found that a large laceration on the left wing. Muscle and bone was exposed and he bird was bleeding. Radiographs showed the wing bone fractured into multiple fragments, a fracture of the left ulna and a collapsed elbow joint.
The veterinarians also spotted two pellets on the X-rays. One was above the tail, and the other, near the right ulna.
“There were also changes to the right ulna, indicated that the eagle sustained previous trauma that had healed. It’s likely that the bird’s ulna was fractured from a gunshot wound,” the center said.
Despite a lifetime of defying the odds, the location of the fracture and severe injury to the elbow joint made surgery impossible. The eagle was humanely euthanized the same day. But Bald Eagle #11-1170 is fondly remembered as a contemporary of the facility’s “rock stars.”
Photos Wildlife Center of Virginia