By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

A juvenile bald eagle was released at Harris Beach Wednesday after undergoing months of treatment and rehabilitation. The eagle had been poisoned by rodenticides.

When freed, the eagle hopped once and took flight in front of a crowd, including staff from Town and Country Animal Hospital, some of whom first treated the bird. The eagle was brought to Town and Country in late July by the Oregon State Police (OSP), according to Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center (WIREC) Director of Community Relations Erin Maxson. An OSP officer also attended the release.

WIREC animal care specialists Jen Osburn Eliot and Lauren Burke explained the eagle’s illness and treatment to a crowd of spectators and supervised the release. They said the bird had likely been poisoned after eating rodents that had ingested poison.

Eliot said the eagle was likely a female due to its size and estimated age and noted that, as a juvenile, it had not yet established white plumage on its head.

The eagle had been quite impressive in flight, according to Burke, who said she was confident the eagle was ready for release after observing it fly in an enclosure.

“During her initial exam, it was clear the patient was completely emaciated,” Maxson said. “Her color was poor, she was very weak and couldn’t stand, which all pointed to severe rodenticide poisoning.”

The eagle was transferred to WIREC for longer-term care and rehabilitation, she added, and its staff treated her with Vitamin K, which helps to clot blood. To provide the eagle with enough Vitamin K, staff gave it doses every four hours.

Maxson said the bird could not stand for two weeks, and once strong enough to fly, spent two weeks at the Cascade Raptor Center in a 100-foot flight enclosure to build strength and practice hunting.

Town and Country veterinary technician Kara Whitsett Clark released a grebe at the event as well. The grebe bit Clark repeatedly as she walked it to the water, even swimming back once to bite her after she had freed it.

Town and Country staff treated the grebe after it washed up on shore in Gold Beach, beaten and exhausted by the surf.

WIREC reports taking in about 1,000 animals each year for rehabilitation and is often able to release them back into the wild.

To learn more about its work or donate, visit the website or call 541-476-0222.

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