Injured eagle likely struck by plane in Newport News

Injured eagle likely struck by plane in Newport News

Credit: Wildlife Center of Virginia

The eagle's wing is examined.

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by Dottie Wikan

WVEC.com

Posted on January 27, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 26 at 6:22 PM

Eagle injured by aircraft

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WAYNESBORO -- A bald eagle likely was struck by an airplane near Newport News-Williamsburg Airport.

It's being treated at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, the organization that's caring for an eagle from Norfolk Botanical Garden that had Avian Pox.

"On January 20, we received a call that a Bald Eagle may have been hit near the airport. The next day, airport authorities indicated no eagle had been found," said Randy Huwa with the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

On Tuesday, however, airport officials contacted the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries about an injured bald eagle, said Huwa.

DGIF Conservation Police Officer George Wilson coordinated the recovery effort for the injured eagle.

The injured bird was located Tuesday and transported to the Animal Clinic and Wellness Center in Williamsburg, where it was examined and stabilized. 

After being secured in a figure-eight bandage, the eagle was transported to the Waynesboro center Wednesday by DGIF biologist Susan Watson.

The eagle, believed to be a 7-8-year-old male, has an open fracture of a bone in its left wing.

"The greatest threat at this point is the risk of infection," Huwa stated.

Radiographs also raised concerns about a lung infection, so the eagle is receiving two different antibiotics and pain medications.

He'll be closely monitored over the next few days.

This is the fourth bald eagle admitted to the Waynesboro center so far this year.

According to the Web site birdstrike.org, 110 bald eagles have been struck by aircraft in the U.S. since 1990.

Stats compiled by the FAA show that 4 eagles have been struck by aircraft in Virginia since 2002. That includes the previous male mate of the resident female at Norfolk Botanical Garden. At the time, those eagles nested at Norfolk International Airport.

DGIF biologist Stephen Living says eagles are less likely to be struck by aircraft than other types of birds such as gulls, which can gather in huge flocks urban areas.

Living says it's not possible to know if the injured eagle was a Peninsula resident or a transient eagle.

"There is no known nest in the immediate vicinity of the airport, although there are a number on the Peninsula," said Living.

"Although Virginia's bald eagles are moving into the early part of their nesting season, it is still possible to have an unattached adult passing through."

 

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