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Bald eagle set to be released into wild

The Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia will release a female immature bald eagle – which has been in recovery under ACCA care since earlier this month – later this week.

Jesse Fallon, Director of Veterinary Medicine with the ACCA, said the eagle was recovered by two DNR officers in Pocahontas County.

At the time of its recovery, the eagle was unable to fly and was weak.

The eagle was admitted to the ACCA Jan. 18. There, diagnostic tests like X-rays and bloodwork were performed.

The test results indicated the eagle was suffering from lead poisoning.

“After admission and our diagnostics, we provided what we call supportive care, which includes IV fluid therapy, nutritional support, and a process called chelation, which is a treatment to remove the lead from the bird’s body,” Fallon said.

Veterinarians at the ACCA monitored the bird’s blood lead concentration every 48 hours until it was reduced to “background levels,” or safe levels.

“The bird’s attitude improved; it became much brighter, and was able to fly and function normally, like a wild eagle,” Fallon said.

LeJay Graffious, director of Old Hemlock Foundations, put a medal band on the bald eagle being held by Dr. Jesse Fallon.

In accordance with the bird’s upcoming release, a leg band from the U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory was applied to the eagle.

“If that bird is ever recovered again, we’ll know the individual bird and its history, and so we’ll return it nearby where it was found,” Fallon said.

The bird will not receive a radio transmitter or additional monitoring devices.   

Fallon said the eagle is estimated to be 4 years old based on its feather plumage, has a wingspan of 6 feet and weighs nearly 11 pounds.

*This story has been updated from a previous report that contained incorrect information regarding the eagle’s release date.

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