Eagle Wrestling

Lot’s happening, life is busy and I find that I spend the few moments for social networking leaving little bits on FaceBook instead of keeping this blog up to date. Still, I did want to take a moment to share this story with you.

Free Spirit is our resident Bald Eagle at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve where I spend a fair amount of time helping to take care of raptors that are in permanent captivity due to wing and or vision injuries. Spirit has been in captivity since she was four, following a venomous snake bite and she’s now an older gal, in her mid-twenties. Tuesday morning this past week she was discovered snagged on her perch, dangling and floundering. This is the same super luxe enclosure she’s been in for years so it was a terrible fluke; we have no idea how or why it happened.

Gabe, our lead volunteer (he gives new meaning to donating your time and talents) was there within minutes and our visiting vet specialist was close on his heels. Most of Tuesday she was in such a state, despite some sedation and pain relief, that she couldn’t be closely examined and Tuesday night she continued to be “shocky” at the vet’s. By Wednesday morning they got an x-ray and consulted with an eagle specialist in Alaska and Wednesday afternoon she had surgery to repair a broken leg. It was broken near the ankle and close to a nerve that services the foot so it was all pretty touch and go. Today, Friday, things are looking up and we are keeping our fingers crossed that this very special bird makes a good recovery.

Spirit continues to mend, with a little more energy today. She spent a fair amount of time bouncing up and down on that leg. Dr. Janine Ciancioto, who did her surgery on Wednesday, came by again this evening to change the dressing and give her some more pain meds and antibiotics. She also gave her what looked like “Carnivore Ensure” via a tube feeding because Spirit doesn’t eat as well when crated. Hopefully there will be a break in the weather soon and she can get out into the new smaller aviary where she has fresh air and some freedom of movement but not enough room to get into trouble while her leg mends. Below, we get Spirit out of her crate and cover her head to calm her down. Any idea how strong a frightened eagle is?

The expression on Spirits face as she gets a shot puts me in mind of taking a small child to the pediatrician. You wish that you could help her understand that all of this manhandling is in her best interests.

Gabe holds Spirit and here you can get a good look at the pins in her broken leg.

Dr. Ciancioto inspects the incision and changes Spirit’s dressing. Her foot is still swollen but looks clean.

A close up look at Spirit’s post-op repair. Titanium pins. Really, it’s quite remarkable.

This wonderful creature is still not out of the woods, but we’re encouraged thus far. She certainly showed her strength today, struggling against us. She used the injured foot to grab on to the glove today in the midst of things and that was a great sign since a part of the surgery included a tendon repair. I’ll keep you posted.

Have a great weekend. Try to avoid buying too many appliances on President’s Day.

10 responses to “Eagle Wrestling

  1. Poor Spirit! Hope she heals up quickly! Must be so confusing to her!

  2. I wonder what she thinks when she sees those rods?! The technology is awe-inspiring. I hope she improves hourly!

  3. Oh! She’ll never be able to go through the metal detectors at the airport now… 😉 What a beautiful creature! Gearing up for our fourth round of snow in the last two weeks…. not much this time.

  4. Oh God, those pictures kill me. Poor thing. What a talented team of caretakers, though!

  5. I hope she makes it. I’m looking at the vet’s bare hands so close to that beak and marveling at her courage.

  6. I love how well cared for she is. She’s getting the best attention and love. Two of the finest ingredients for a full recovery. Keep us posted, Vicki.

  7. OMG–look at those talons. Yikes–I would not want to be on the receiving end of a Spirited grab.
    Here’s hoping this magnificent creature recuperates.

  8. Oh, poor spirit. I hope she is on the mend soon. Please keep those talons away from you! They look like they could do a lot of damage, which I guess they do! Thinking of those mouse guts on your glasses. Does Boyd Hill have a fund set aside to pay for medical care like that? Do we need to start a fund? I am sure that there is no health care for eagles. Or is there?

  9. Such remarkable care that bird receives. You are all wonderful. I hope she recovers without complication.

  10. Pingback: eagle + egg + cam

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