Friday, October 15, 2010

Adult Bald Eagle Admitted, Loon Making Progress, Many Calls on Injured Waterfowl

( Photo: Katie and Alberta tube feed the most recent Bald Eagle patient admitted from the Merrill area. )

We admitted an adult Bald Eagle with neurological signs. He is very low in weight coming in with a weight of just below 5 lbs. A typical male Bald Eagle weighs 8-9 lbs. Because he was so weak, we took a day to stabilize him before drawing blood for testing. He has an elevated blood Lead level. It is however not as high as I would expect to cause the extreme symptoms he exhibits. We began chelating treatments for lead but continue to look for other toxins that may also be present.

( Photo: Drawing blood from the adult Bald Eagle admitted suffering from neurological symptoms. He likely has ingested or was exposed to a toxin. Tests are underway to determine what toxin.)

A blog reader wrote to ask why many of our birds are starving when admitted when there is plenty of food in the environment. In the cases of a toxin, the bird is unable to eat. You can think of your own bodies reaction to eating something poisoned. If they are unable to eat due to toxin or unable to capture their own food due to a leg, wing fracture or other injury, the cycle of starvation begins. Some time can go by before the bird is captured and brought into REGI. The fact is by the time a wild bird can be captured, it has to be very weak. Starvation complicates the care needed, but is often part of the diagnosis.

( Photo: The Common Loon stretches her neck out underwater to grab a minnow!)

Our Common Loon is making progress. We are cautiously optimistic for her recovery. Aspergillosis is a fungal infection that can be a serious problem in loons and other avian species when they are physiologically stressed. She is treated twice a day with anti fungal oral medication to prevent aspergillosis.
Meanwhile she is swimming several times a day now and while still being tube fed emaciation diet she is also eating minnows ravenously on her own. Keep her in your thoughts as she has a long way to go.

Waterfowl hunting is underway in Wisconsin. We are receiving many calls about wounded Canada Geese and various species of ducks. Sadly, many of these game birds are injured and left to die a slow and painful death. If you find a goose or duck that needs help, please carefully put it in a cardboard box with a towel in the bottom and bring it to the REGI facility. We wish we could respond to every call, but our staff is small and the need great. We will take care of the birds once they arrive. Often the are able to recover.

( Photo: Alberta had a birthday on Tuesday! With the interns no longer with us, our group is significantly smaller, but still enthusiastic! We were happy Dave Koch, volunteer extraordinaire, was able to join us for the celebration. Dave has been working on the new eagle building. I will devote an entire blog to that effort and the great folks that helped Dave as well when we put the eagle in her new building.)

We have a busy day ahead. Hope your day is perfect!

Marge Gibson © 2010

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