Three weeks of treatment leads to freedom for bald eagles found sick and disoriented.
After the deaths of five bald eagles in Sussex County last month, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, a privately funded organization in Delaware, managed to rehabilitate and release the last of three bald eagles rescued from the same field.
On March 19 a dead bald eagle was found in a field near Dagsboro in Sussex County. Later that morning, a group of eagles were found disoriented and sick in a field about a mile away from the first dead bird. Tri-State and DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police captured five eagles from that group; three of those birds died in transit to Tri-State’s center in Newark.
On March 20 two more eagles – one dead, one alive – were found in the same area. The live bird was transported to Tri-State.
According to Lisa Smith, Executive Director of Tri-State Bird Rescue, who couldn’t discuss the details of medical treatment, the eagles brought to the facility were treated with fluids, “Stress and shock from being in captivity can cause dehydration,” she said.
It is still unknown what caused the deaths of the eagles, whose remains were sent to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services forensics lab in Ashland, OR for testing.
“This is an active investigation and we do not know what caused the five eagles to become sick and die,” said Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in a press release. “We continue to ask people not to attempt to capture or handle any eagles they encounter on the ground, but to call us and report any birds that may appear sick or injured.”
Thirteen bald eagles were found dead Feb. 20 near Federalsburg, Md., with a determination made by USFWS forensics lab that those eagles “did not die from natural causes.”
“Bald eagles are about 15 percent of our annual case load, so we may see 40 to 50 bald eagles from the tri-state area,” Smith explained. “Generally we don’t get that many birds at a time,” she said of the recently rescued eagles.
Sick or injured eagles can be reported to the Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police dispatch center at 800-523-3336. Anyone with information about the dead eagles is urged to call the 24-hour Operation Game Theft hotline at 800-292-3030.