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2nd Oldest Wild Bald Eagle on Record Lands at Teton Raptor Center

(Jackson, Wyo.) - At 4 p.m. on the afternoon of March 12, Teton Raptor Center’s Executive Director took a call from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department about an injured wild Bald Eagle in Jackson. Teton Raptor Center (TRC) staff members Becky Collier, Senior Avian Educator and Sarah Ramirez, Rehab Intern were conducting a training session with Resident Bald Eagle, River when the call came in. The three staff members gathered supplies and went to the rescue. The mature Bald Eagle was found near a residence on North Highway 89, across from the National Elk Refuge. The eagle was likely struck by a vehicle and couldn’t fly. She tried to get away on foot but was clearly weak. It didn’t take long for the staff members to retrieve the eagle. She was placed in a kennel and transferred back to Teton Raptor Center for care. At TRC, staff evaluated her injuries and conducted a blood lead test. There was evidence of road rash and soft tissue injuries but remarkably, x-rays showed no broken bones and her blood lead level was low. There were lacerations and bruising on her right shoulder, wrist and both her feet. The eagle received pain medication, fluids, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and was placed in an oxygen chamber. Her feet were wrapped in ball wraps to minimize swelling and provide support while the injuries heal. The next morning, TRC’s primary veterinarian Dr. Heather Carleton conducted an additional assessment and sutured a 2-inch laceration near the eagle’s right shoulder. “This is a remarkable story of raptor rescue, research, and rehabilitation. Our team will do all we can to help this eagle live an even longer life in the wild. It’s an honor to provide this care to all of our raptor patients, and especially to one that is such a special symbol of her species recovery,” said Amy McCarthy, TRC’s Executive Director. So far, the eagle is responding well to treatment and TRC is cautiously optimistic for her recovery. As is the case with all rehab raptors at TRC, her treatment plan includes supportive care and hands-off approach to reduce stress and allow the eagle time to heal. Teton Raptor Center keeps wild rehab patients out of the public eye to minimize stress to the animals and to adhere to permit requirements. “One of the amazing things we know about this Bald Eagle is that it was banded in Wyoming in 1982, thus making this Bald Eagle the 2nd oldest known wild banded Bald Eagle at 34 years old,” said Bryan Bedrosian, TRC’s Senior Avian Ecologist. Teton Raptor Center will share more about information once they hear back from the original bander and the Bird Banding Laboratory at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Bird banding data are useful in both research and management projects. Individual identification of bird makes possible studies of dispersal and migration, behavior and social structure, life span and survival rate, reproductive success and population growth. Teton Raptor Center is a nonprofit organization located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and advances raptor conservation through education, research and rehabilitation. In 2015, TRC conducted 360 educational programs for 18,000 people, cared for 130 injured, ill or orphaned raptors at it rehabilitation clinic and conducts raptor research projects on Great Grey Owls, Golden Eagles, Sage Grouse and migratory songbirds. *Feature Photo: The rescued bald eagle. h/t Teton Raptor Center /