The first eagle to land at the Atlantic Veterinary College Wildlife Service this year is one the largest that wildlife technician Fiep de Bie has taken under her wing.
The bald eagle weighs about 5.4 kilograms, leaving de Bie to believe the bird is female. The female eagle typically is larger than the male.
A Tracadie resident found the eagle hopping in her backyard and trying unsuccessfully to take flight.
De Bie says the bird suffered head trauma, had blood near the beak and a wing droop. It also has a small ulcer in one eye.
De Bie says sometimes when eagles are in territorial disputes, they may lock talons while fighting in the air, fall to the ground and sustain very serious injuries.
She doubts that was the case with this eagle.
She believes the bird was most likely hit by a car while feeding on road kill.
“It looks like there was an impact,’’ she says.
“It was either hit by a car or flew into a firm object.’’
De Bie says there is plenty of care to be provided – perhaps months - before the eagle is released back into the wild.
The large bald eagle, which is on pain medication and receiving antibiotics, has started to eat on its own.
Veterinary students, notes de Bie, will have valuable hands-on experience in assisting in the care and treatment of the bird.
“There are a lot of learning opportunities in terms of medical treatment but also in terms of handling wildlife,’’ she says.
Last year, six injured eagles were brought in to the AVC Wildlife Service.