SPCA Rescues Juvenile Bald Eagle from Angola; Bird is the Second Eagle in Critical Condition Brought to SPCA Since Friday

August 1, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca and SPCA Communications Manager Bethany Kloc

UPDATE, August 9 — Sad news was just shared by Barbara Haney. Unfortunately, both eagles have passed. On Thursday, August 4, Wildlife Department staff arrived in the morning to find that the Angola eagle had passed during the night. On Sunday, August 7, again staff arrived to find the eagle that was brought to us by the DEC had passed during the night. Haney states that, despite the best efforts and expert care on the part of the team, the health of both eagles was extremely compromised, and despite the very poor prognosis, everything possible was done to save their lives.

She adds, “We never really understood what was making them sick. Eagles are often the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ when it comes to the health of our environment. They are susceptible to toxins in the environment because of their ability to be opportunistic and often acting like scavengers. They’ll eat morsels of garbage and roadkill. These were both young birds too and they probably got into trouble in that way. Our environment is ripe with chemicals that can cause some issues with these sensitive birds. Pesticides, dyes, gasoline, plastic, lead, heavy metals, and bromine-based herbicides can all cause serious illness to eagles. National Audubon has stated that we’ve lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970 and, going forward, it looks like [there will be more] birds dying from unknown causes, just like these two eagles, as we continue to lose more birds due to anthropomorphic causes. In addition, our warming climate has the potential to increase the prevalence of insect born diseases like Avian Malaria and West Nile Virus. We will be sending their carcasses to DEC for further testing so that their lives can continue to teach us and help us to save our precious birds of WNY.”

UPDATE, August 2 — Wildlife Director Barbara Haney states that the prognosis for both eagles is extremely poor. In fact, the eagle found in Angola has aspergillosis and elevated lead levels. We will continue to update this page with further developments.

Late this afternoon, SPCA Serving Erie County Officer Lindsey Wood rescued a juvenile bald eagle from Angola, NY and rushed it to the SPCA’s Wildlife Department, where it is currently receiving a preliminary exam by staff there.

Earlier today, SPCA officers received a call from Town of Evans Dog Control Officer Michael Franey. He said there was an eagle down in the woods at the end of his street, and was concerned because he was able to walk up to the bird without the bird flying away. Franey asked that SPCA officers assess the situation.

Officer Wood, with invaluable assistance by Franey and Drew Supon, a resident at the property, was able to safely confine the eagle.

A preliminary assessment by SPCA Wildlife Department staff states the bird is extremely thin with burns on its feet. A full examination is happening at this time, and we will update this page with additional information this week.

At the time of this writing, information was shared on another bald eagle already under the care of the SPCA Wildlife Department. That bird was brought to the SPCA Serving Erie County Friday morning, July 29.

Moments ago, SPCA Wildlife Director Barbara Haney shared with us information on a call that was received late last week by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC representatives told members of the SPCA Wildlife Department that they received a call to pick up a deceased eagle. Upon arrival, they realized the eagle was very ill, but breathing, and they rushed the eagle to our Wildlife hospital Friday morning. (That eagle is pictured here with SPCA Veterinarian Dr. Karen Slote.)

Haney states, “Although the bird is still in critical condition, we are cautiously optimistic as he has made it through the weekend. He was so weak that he couldn’t stand, lift his head, or open his eyes. There have been minor improvements and he is a bit feistier! That is good news. What we know is that there are no fractures of any bones and the lead levels are normal. We are treating the eagle for head trauma and an [IV solution] should help draw out any swelling of the brain. Although we have seen some improvement, this eagle is still also very much in critical condition.”

This page will be updated this week with the progress of the eagle brought to the SPCA by the DEC Friday, in addition to the eagle rescued by the SPCA’s Officer Wood today.

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