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Locally Rescued Golden Eagle Successfully Released

Aug 21, 2005- Stanford, CA

An injured juvenile (2nd year) Golden Eagle was brought to Wildlife Rescue’s shelter in Palo Alto on May 16, 2005. The bird had been found on Moffett Field in Mountain View. It was estimated to have been injured and on the ground for at least one week before it was seen and rescued by a NASA Ames biologist. The eagle’s wing was x-rayed and treated at Adobe Animal Hospital by Dr. Jane Johnson. The eagle’s right wing (ulna) was broken in two places and it was put on “crate rest” from May 19 through May 27th to let the break set. Being inside the crate allowed the bird minimal movement to keep its wing stable long enough for the breaks to heal. Fortunately, the breaks were far enough from the joint to allow the bird to heal and enabling it to eventually return to the wild with full functionality. 

After crate rest at WRI volunteer Lisa Konie’s home in Saratoga, the eagle was then transported to WRI raptor volunteer Karen Hoyt’s home in Los Altos and kept inside a large cage (32'×20'×8') for about 1 week for further healing. In early June, the bird was then transferred to Peninsula Humane Society to take advantage of their 100' circular cage. The eagle was put in the large aviary at Peninsula Humane Society so it could exercise and be observed to make sure the breaks had fully healed. The eagle’s wing was re-x-rayed on July 20th. The eagle is now flying strongly and was released back into the wild on August 21st.

Through the collaboration of Wildlife Rescue, Peninsula Humane Society, Adobe Animal Hospital, this Golden Eagle was successfully rehabilitated and released on August 21, 2005. Through the efforts of so many volunteers, this bird will have a second chance to thrive and soar above the Peninsula. Wildlife Rescue successfully rehabilitates and releases many large raptors every year. What makes this release so special is that in Wildlife Rescue’s 31-year history, this is only the 2nd Eagle to have been released back into the wild. Usually birds are released in the vicinity where they were found. However, this Golden Eagle was not released at Moffett Field (where it was originally found). For human and bird safety, NASA Ames employees do not want any large birds to interfere with incoming aircraft, and have been issued a license to deter or prevent any birds from interfering with the runways. This bird was released in the Stanford foothills.

Golden Eagles are majestic birds, very large and dark, with a golden nape. They are found throughout North America. Locally, Golden Eagles are often found in the foothills east of San Jose, but they are slowly increasing their numbers along the Peninsula. They could be mistaken for a Turkey Vulture or other Hawks (buteos), but are much larger, with relatively long wings, and steady flight. Golden Eagles hunt mammals mainly from the air, often with spectacular stoops.

An injured juvenile (2nd year) Golden Eagle was rehabilited and released on August 21st.


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