Bald eagle a recent raptor rehab at center

HARVEY – At least it wasn’t lead poisoning, but an injured bald eagle made its way to the Chocolay Raptor Center recently for some rehab.

Center cofounder Jerry Maynard said the Michigan Department of Natural Resources brought the bird, which was found in a field in Bruce Crossing, to the center about a week and half ago.

Maynard was unsure what was wrong with the bird.

“The DNR said it tried to fly when they picked it up, but it couldn’t,” Maynard said.

The eagle was emaciated when the center received it, with it unable to eat on its own, he said. So, the bird was hand-fed, plus it had to be tubed because it also was dehydrated.

There was good news, however.

“We took a blood sample, X-rays,” Maynard said. “Everything looks good. The blood lead level is good, very low.”

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, lead poisoning has been recognized as a mortality factor for wildlife, particularly eagles, ducks, geese, swans and loons.

The switch from lead to non-toxic shot has reduced waterfowl mortality from lead poisoning, although mortality in eagles and loons still is seen since the sources of lead they consume – lead sinkers and jigs and lead bullets – are still legal.

The eagle had trouble standing too, although it improved from that standpoint.

“It could be trauma,” Maynard said. “The only thing we could find was a contusion on one wing. Nothing broken, but it could have been enough that compromised her flying ability.”

Maynard said he believes the mature eagle, which weighed 9 pounds when it came into the center, is female.

On Monday, the eagle was transported to the Wings of Wonder rehabilitation facility near downstate Empire, which is equipped to fully rehabilitate eagles.

Wings of Wonder was unable to be reached for comment regarding the eagle’s updated condition.

The center also had been taking care of an injured barred owl, which was recently found in Dollar Bay.

“We think it probably got hit by a car, so it was down, and basically blind,” Maynard said. “Both eyes were filled with blood.”

The barred owl, which is suspected to be female, also had some broken feathers on its head.

The owl was treated with non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, and then was transferred to the center’s flight cage, he said.

“She’s flying, perching, going down, eating fine, so she’s ready to go,” Maynard said.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.