LANSING, Mich. — Saturday, Nov. 21 Vince Ferrari found a juvenile bald eagle on the ground, not moving, while walking his dog on his property in Montrose near the Flint River.
Ferrari said, “Sure enough I was within three or four feet of it probably for a half hour.”
He ran home to put his dog away and returned to rescue the animal but was unable to find him. Vince contacted the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to report the injured bald eagle, and Conservation Officer Robar came to get the bird.
Ferrari said, “They took it out with my dog cage because they didn’t have one. It was on the side of the building and they asked do you have any kind of cage?’ Just that. And he said ‘That’ll do.”
Officer Robar, of Detroit, successfully located the bald eagle and borrowed a dog crate from Vince to transport the animal to the Howell Nature Center (HNC). This was Robar’s very first eagle rescue.
During HNC’s examination of the young bald eagle, they found that she was dehydrated, thin, and both wings are injured. HNC staff identified the bird as female due to her large size. Female birds of prey are larger than the males. They also have determined her age to be 1 to 1.5 years old based on the coloring of her feathers and eyes.
HNC said that had Vince or DNR Officer Robar not stepped in, she would not have survived in the wild. HNC expressed gratitude to everyone involved in ensuring the eagle will have a warm and safe holiday.
Laura Butler at the Howell Nature Center said “When we examined her we found injuries to both wings. She was dehydrated and underweight. She was probably dehydrated and underweight because she couldn’t fly to find food due to her wing injuries.
Butler said it will be months before the eagle could be released.
She said, “They need to be in peak condition in order to survive in the wild. So after she heals from her injuries she’ll get more space and then go outside and start getting exercise and build up her strength and stamina.”
The nature center is not sure how the eagle was injured but they are ruling out being hit by a car or hunted.
“We’re not exactly sure how she got injured. She might have flown into something. But because of where she was found and due to the nature of her injuries it doesn’t look like she was hit by a car,” said Butler. “When we examined her we didn’t see any injuries that are consistent with a gun shot. Her wing injuries are some bruising some abrasions.”
HNC is one of the few facilities in Michigan able to rehabilitate bald eagles and staff members are not sure if she will be able to be released back into the wild.
“As a top predator that needs to be able to hunt, she will need to be at peak performance in order to be released,” HNC said in a statement. “This will require a lot of physical therapy, medical care, and proper nutrition. Bald eagles require a highly specialized diet made of primarily fish, which is very expensive.”
HNC anticipates that it will cost over $2,500 to rehabilitate her over the next three to four months. As a nonprofit facility, HNC’s wildlife clinic is funded through program fees, donations, and grants. If you would like to help provide support for this animal in need, visit howellnaturecenter.org/donate to make a donation.
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