(Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Patient Number 21-217.
Date of admission: May 13, 2021.
Reason for admission: Right wing injury.
Bald eagles were a relatively rare species throughout the mid-to-late 1900s— being the frequent victim of trapping, shooting, and poisoning. Vast improvements in the treatment and protection of Bald eagles led to their removal from the Endangered Species list in 2007. Continuing threats to Bald Eagle populations include lead poisoning from ammunition in 'hunter-shot' prey, and collisions with motor vehicles and stationary structures (i.e. power lines, buildings).
The bald eagle’s range extends across most of North America, including most of Canada, all of the continental United States, and northern Mexico. Northern populations will migrate south during the winter months while southern populations are year-round residents. In Canada, from November until late February, one to two thousand eagles congregate in the Squamish, British Columbia region. The bald eagle is important in many Native American cultures. It is often considered a sacred bird and its feathers are central to many religious and spiritual customs.
Bald eagles typically nest in large forested areas, preferring tall coniferous or deciduous trees adjacent to large bodies of water. Bald eagles frequently avoid heavily developed areas when possible. Fish of various types constitute the centrepiece of the bald eagle diet; however, they have been known to eat other available food sources such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and small mammals.
Bald eagles are considered master nest builders, and their creations typically range 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 to 4 feet tall. Once the nest is built the female will have a clutch of 1-3 eggs and will incubate for 34-36 days. Bald eagles do not hatch with white heads. Their heads only turn white once they have reached sexual maturity, generally at five years of age.
This Bald Eagle was brought in to care after being found grounded near Dead Man’s Flats, located west of Canmore, AB. A physical exam, with x-rays, revealed that the eagle was suffering from a fracture in the metacarpals (end wing bones) of the right wing. With supportive care, the eagle was able to make a full recovery and was returned to the wild in June 2021. Thank you for your support of this eagle in need!