Each spring, hundreds of raptor chicks enter the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey’s Raptor Trauma Clinic, in need of both care and placement back in nests. For some, their injuries are severe enough that they will need permanent homes in education centers and zoos. This year, the Clinic has already seen a huge influx of Bald Eagles.
Bald Eagles are a national symbol of the United States. In the 20th century, their numbers plummeted as DDT and other pesticides wreaked havoc on the food chain. Today, they have special protections, and their populations have made an impressive comeback. In fact, they have been so successful that Bald Eagles left the Endangered Species list in 2007!
However, Bald Eagles still need our help. The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey currently has 14 juvenile Bald Eagles in the Center’s Raptor Trauma Clinic - double the number we had at this time last year. Of the young eagles, 80% were admitted with injuries due to falls from nests. Other injuries include electrocution, entanglement, and disease. Many of these baby eagles are close to fledgling age, but still require numerous daily feedings (they eat a ton), evaluations, fluids, and medications. On average it costs $3,000 to care for and rehabilitate a Bald Eagle.
“Our goal is to get these young eagles back to their nest or nest area as soon as possible for release back into the wild,” says Katie Warner, Center Director. “Many of these young eagles came from nests monitored by EagleWatch volunteers. Thanks to you all, these young birds are getting a second chance at life!”
Since January 1, a total of 46 injured Bald Eagles have been treated at Audubon; 10 have been released back into the wild.
The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey tends to more than 700 injured raptors each year. Since the Bald Eagle's removal from both the federal endangered species list and the state’s imperiled species list, Audubon Center for Birds of Prey programs have been critical in tracking information on the wild population of eagles. Through the Center’s rehabilitation programs, the Center has had a direct impact on Florida’s current eagle population, either through direct rehabilitation or through the offspring of birds treated and released by the Center. Since 1979, our team has released over 600 rehabilitated Bald Eagles back into the wild.
The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey thanks Duke Energy for their ongoing support of the EagleWatch program.