Earlier this month, the UI's Wildlife Medical Clinic received two injured eagles to care for. Although the College of Veterinary Medicine has cared for wildlife for more than 30 years, the young bald eagle and golden eagle were the first eagles treated at the wildlife clinic. In spite of the round-the-clock care the birds received, efforts to save them were unsuccessful. Poisoning was suspected in both cases, perhaps from pesticides.
Thinking the injured bird he found in his field was a hawk, a Macon County farmer took the bald eagle to Decatur's Wildlife CPR on May 5. Experts at the clinic quickly identified the bird as a juvenile bald eagle and dispatched it to the UI's Wildlife Medical Clinic. The golden eagle was found the next day in a dazed condition alongside a rural road and brought directly to the UI.
The bald eagle appeared to be improving after three days in the clinic, but it died despite surgical treatment to set a fractured wing. Pesticide poisoning may have made the eagle groggy and caused him to fly into something, damaging his wing, experts said. The golden eagle died within a day of arriving at the clinic.
Both birds were thought to be about
2 years old, too young to have the plumage characteristic of adults of their species. Had the birds been stabilized, they would have been taken to the Raptor Center, an international medical facility for birds of prey, located in Minneapolis, which has the proper permits for caring for eagles.
The UI's Wildlife Medical Clinic is operated by veterinary students working under the supervision of faculty adviser Thomas J. Burke and local veterinarian Kenneth Welle. More than 1,000 animals including mammals, reptiles, song birds, waterfowl and birds of prey are treated each year. Student volunteers donate nearly 200 hours a week. The clinic receives some financial support from the college but relies heavily on donations to cover the costs of medical treatment.
Anyone finding an injured animal or bird may bring it to the clinic to be treated free of charge. The clinic is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Wildlife cases are never refused. The phone number is 244-1195. To find out more about the clinic, visit its Web site at http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/wmc/wmc.htm.