JAMES CITY Co., Va. – A bald eagle was released into the wild Wednesday after being treated for poisoning.
The bird was one of two eagles rescued from Mathews County on November 15.
They were found scavenging a deer carcass, unable to stand and exhibiting neurologic symptoms.
The eagles were triaged by a permitted wildlife rehabilitator and driven to the Wildlife Center in Waynesboro.
The birds received complete physical exams from Dr. Ernesto Dominguez. Based on their symptoms and history, he suspected poisoning and started both eagles on intravenous fluids and oxygen therapy. The following morning, the eagles were started on sodium bicarbonate, to neutralize the effects of the suspected ingested poison.
Lab results confirmed the presence in the eagles’ blood of pentobarbital, a drug mainly used by veterinarians to euthanize animals – in this case, a deer.
Secondary pentobarbital poisoning of wildlife occurs when euthanized animals are not properly disposed of or buried.
The eagles spent a few weeks in outdoor flight pens to build up their strength and stamina.
The second eagle is still recovering.