PULLMAN —Two very weak and starving bald eagles found near Colville, Wash., are now recovering at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Each bird was discovered alongside a roadway by drivers who saw that the eagles were weak and unable to fly. One is a 3-year-old juvenile female bald eagle found near Waits Lake. WSU’s recovery team has nicknamed the eagle “Jordan.”
The other, is a 5-year-old mature bald eagle found just south of Colville along Highway 395. The WSU crew has named the older eagle “Carpenter.” The names came from authors of widely used veterinary avian textbooks.
After examination by local veterinarians, the birds were brought to Pullman by an agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Odds [of survival] aren’t so good yet,” said Dr. Nickol Finch, who heads up the raptor rehabilitation service at WSU. “We’re just going to have to keep a close watch, and keep our fingers crossed.”
Cases of sick eagles brought to WSU’s veterinary college seem to have increase significantly between November and March. A high percentage suffer from lead poisoning, a factor that still baffles many wildlife experts.
“That’s the great puzzle,” said Dr. Erik Stauber, who has helped injured eagles recover for decades at WSU. “We don’t see any direct evidence with the eagles as to where the lead comes from, but we’ll see very high lead levels in more than 70 percent of the golden eagles we treat here at WSU.”
There are early indications at least one of the eagles suffers from elevated lead levels, but a definitive test won’t be returned for at least another week.
The good news is x-rays show no broken bones. “We’ll make sure they’re well fed, and watch for any illness that can develop,” said Dr. Finch.
WSU has successfully rehabilitated a pair of eagles from the same region. “River,” a female adult eagle was released near Kettle Falls, Wash., in July 2006, after more than nine months of rehabilitation. “Kim,” a second eagle, was released outside Newport, Wash., in November 2007.