Photo provided

Photo provided

Clinton resident finds injured eaglet in yard

Vet responds to many calls of raptors in crisis each year, but the cases don’t always end happily

Clinton resident Melissa Koch got a close look at America’s most patriotic bird after discovering a young bald eagle pecking at her hydrangeas Aug. 7. The juvenile eagle appeared to have fallen from a tall nearby fir tree where a pair of nesting bald eagles hatched baby eagles earlier this year, she said.

David Parent of Useless Bay Animal Clinic checked on the eaglet. Clinton resident Melissa Koch said she felt lucky to have gotten such a close look at a young bald eagle. Her neighbor Cathy Whitmire snapped these photos. (Photo provided)

David Parent of Useless Bay Animal Clinic checked on the eaglet. Clinton resident Melissa Koch said she felt lucky to have gotten such a close look at a young bald eagle. Her neighbor Cathy Whitmire snapped these photos. (Photo provided)

David Parent of Useless Bay Animal Clinic stopped by and attempted to reunite the eaglet with its parents by leaving it on top of a roof underneath the nest of the tree.

Parent advised that someone who comes upon seemingly abandoned or injured wild animals not to take matters into their own hands, but to get help.

Wildlife centers are equipped to treat birds and make efforts to return them to the wild. Parent, who is licensed to treat wildlife, said he gets called to check on eagles about 15 to 20 times a year.

Eaglets tend to fall from nests between May and August, according to Laura Follis of the Lynnwood PAWS Wildlife Center, where Koch transported the eagle after its parents did not return.

In this case, Parent suspected that the eagle’s healthier sibling learned to fly, and the parents moved on.

“Mother nature is not often kind,” he said.

For her part, Koch said it was a magical experience to get to see the majestic feathered creature on such a personal level. She said she had been watching the eagle family from afar, witnessing feeding times and the eaglets “flapping wings getting ready for the maiden voyage into the skies.”

Unfortunately, not every story has a happy ending, and this eaglet will not be returning to the wild.

Follis said PAWS had to euthanize the bird a day after it was received due to two improperly-healed fractures and a severe aspergillosis infection in its lungs, likely due to a compromised immune system. Infections progressed to that level “are almost impossible to treat,” she wrote in an email.

The injuries would have impeded its ability to fly or function normally.

“With rare exception, wild animals need full function in every limb to survive in the wild,” she said.

Eaglets learning how to fly can be injured falling out of trees because eagle nests are typically built at the top of the tallest tree in the area, which can be upwards to 60-80 feet high, she said.

“Recently we have seen fractured pelvis in fallen eaglets the most,” Follis said.

Call a licensed rehab canter or a veterinarian with a wildlife rehabilitation permit upon finding an injured eagle, she said.

Licensed centers can be found on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website. Whidbey’s centers are Useless Bay Animal Clinic in Freeland and Wildlife Care Clinic in Oak Harbor.

Bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 1995 and are currently listed as a federal “species of concern.”

They are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Photo provided

Photo provided

More in Life

Library staff digs in to solve photo mysteries

Let’s say you find a box of a few hundred old photos… Continue reading

Several Santa sightings scheduled for the South End

Kris Kringle will be making his rounds on the South End soon.… Continue reading

Village captures magic of Christmastime

With a click of a button, Tammy Butler’s living room comes bursting… Continue reading

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group
                                Captain Whidbey Inn bartender Aaron Bloom mixes a specialty cocktail as part of the Christmas pop-up Miracle. As part of the inn’s holiday-themed events, community members are invited to help decorate the tree in the lobby, a revival of an old tradition.
Christmas spirit flows at historic inn

The Captain Whidbey Inn might be under relatively new ownership, but this… Continue reading

Theatre’s Nutcracker ‘gets better and better’

A lot has changed since the Whidbey Island Dance Theatre first took… Continue reading

Clarence the angel, played by Jim Scullin, looks to the heavens for advice on how to help George Bailey (Gabe Harshman, left) and Uncle Billy (James Hinkley) in a scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Photo by Patricia Guthrie
WICA brings holiday classic to stage

By Patricia Guthrie Special to The Record Could there be a more… Continue reading

Giving Tree celebrates 16th year of generosity

Standing before the Giving Tree in the Bayview Cash Store on Dec.… Continue reading

Astronaut tells students to shoot for the stars

Standing before an audience of South Whidbey High School students, former Navy… Continue reading

Kicking off Christmas

Ava Stamatiou and her goat Freya were the stars of the Homesteaders… Continue reading

Most Read