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Injured St. James City eaglet euthanized

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Apr 7, 2021

Eaglets from the nest where one became entangled and was later euthanized due to its injuries. PHOTO PROVIDED


On Thursday, March 25, around 5 p.m., Audubon Eagle Watch volunteer Jerry Hook got a call from a St. James City resident who told him one of the nearby nests seemed to have a struggling eaglet. Although it wasn’t one of the nests Hook’s currently volunteering to watch, he is familiar with the nest and responded out of general concern.

“I came down to Cactus Point where the eagle’s nest is and sure enough, the eagle was draped over the side of the nest dangling by one leg, that appeared to be caught,” said Hook.

Upon seeing this, Hook called the Pine Island Fire Department, and a truck was dispatched immediately from Station 2 in St. James City, as well as the notification of Florida Fish and Wildlife, who sent an officer.

“By 6 o’clock, we were all standing there looking at this nest, which was 80 feet or more in the air,” Hook said.

Hook tried making calls to various places in search of help, including CROW, but no one was available and he couldn’t imagine how to find a ladder able to reach the height of the nest. The group, he said, decided to give the eagle the rest of the night to see if it would be able to free itself.

“I went out before daybreak the next morning and I noticed that the eaglet was still over the side of the nest struggling and flapping,” Hook said.

It was then that Hook was able to get a hold of CROW, who called LCEC and Florida Fish and Wildlife returned. Hook was told an officer from Florida Fish and Wildlife had to accompany LCEC in its bucket truck to help the eagle. When the eagle was finally untangled, they were told to bring it to CROW for assistance.

Brian Bohlman of CROW reports the foot of the eaglet was unable to be saved and the eagle, he said, unfortunately had to be euthanized.

He went on to say, a recent Bokeelia eagle rescue was successful however.

“Bald eagle patient #21-371 was admitted from the Bokeelia area, at the corner of Quail Trail and Barancas, on Feb. 5,” Bohlman said. “It was found down on the ground and able to run, but not able to fly and it also was drooping its left wing. Veterinarians found the eagle to have a healing fracture of its ulna bone in its left wing. Since it’s radius, the bone that runs parallel to the ulna, just like in a human forearm, was intact, it acted as a natural splint and no surgery was needed for the fractured bone to heal. Veterinarians immobilized the injured wing with wraps as it healed. Once the fracture was stable, the eagle spent time in an outdoor enclosure for reconditioning and building strength back in its wing prior to being released. The eagle was released on March 30 in the same area it was rescued.”