Rehabbed eagle injured again, back with Bolm

Published 12:30 am Sunday, September 5, 2010

A bald eagle nursed back to health and released earlier this summer is back under the care of wildlife rehabber Becki Bolm after another injury.

Bolm said the female, believed to be about 3 years old, was found in the road at Tara Wildlife Preserve, unable to fly, on July 23. Just 33 days earlier, Bolm had let the eagle go after a previous 10-month rehab from injury and malnutrition.

An exam revealed the eagle had a large bruise and sore at the bend in her left wing.

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Staff at Tara had been watching out for the eagle since her release on June 20, Bolm said, and in mid-July began to notice her on the ground and flying low to the ground. She soon was found on the road.

It’s common for eagles not to stray too far from home, said Bolm, who’s been a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabber for 13 years.

After the eagle was recaptured, Bolm took her to Dr. Adrian Whittington in Jackson.

“He said he hoped she’ll heal and can be released again,” Bolm said after X-rays They are not sure how the eagle was injured, but know she was not shot.

Bolm said the eagle is housed in a “huge 6-foot cage built for her” and will be taken to LSU in about two weeks to see if she is healthy enough to be released.

“If she is not releasable, I can train her to a glove,” Bolm said, for feeding and care.

In the meantime, the eagle is eating baby chicks, rats and mice, some frozen and provided by Bolm, and some hunted from the mice and rat houses Bolm maintains to keep the bird’s hunting skills sharp. “She’ll need to kill about 25 rats before I can let her go,” she said.

The eagle also nabs fish from a small pond and prefers the ones without scales, she said.

The species was removed from the federal endangered and threatened species lists in 2007, but remains protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. It is illegal for anyone to possess the birds, their feathers, nests or eggs without a permit. Native Americans, however, are able to keep bald eagle feathers, which are used in sacred ceremonies and customs.