Now that the bird no longer needs regular doses of medication, we’ve moved it to one of Portland Audubon’s off-site flight cages. A bird of this size needs a lot of room to fly, so living in the flight cage will allow the eagle to build up its atrophied flight muscles.
This shift in location also gives Portland Audubon staff the chance to closely observe the eagle’s behavior in a setting that resembles the wild. While signs seem favorable, the eagle’s exposure to lead may have lingering effects that impact its mental faculties.
The good news is not only have the eagle’s lead levels dropped significantly, but the bird is also flying beautifully and has a healthy appetite. The nine-pound eagle can eat two pounds of salmon in a day.
The eagle likely developed lead poisoning after eating the remains of an animal shot with lead ammunition, ingesting fragments of ammunition along with the carcass. Not only did it have high levels of lead in its blood, but an X-ray revealed metal in the bird’s stomach. Learn more about how care center staff rescued, diagnosed and treated the eagle.