A Golden Eagle affectionately known as “#53” is recuperating at the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center in Hughson after being hit by a car in Los Banos.
The eagle, which is believed to be male, was brought into the center on Feb. 15 after being injured along, ironically enough, Eagle Field Road.
The raptor had its crop, which is where it stores food in its gullet, ripped open about five inches, said Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center Chairperson Donna Burt.
“He was a horrible mess,” Burt said. “He was dehydrated and anemic from the blood loss. There was evidence of a concussion. He was almost comatose.”
The eagle’s health was so precarious that it was too dangerous for the caregivers to do a full repair.
“He was too unstable, so we couldn’t work that long,” Burt said. “We just had to get in there and do some quick stitches so we could get him back on food and fluids and start the antibiotics.”
A week later the bird of prey was strong enough to undergo surgery, which was performed by Turlock veterinarian Doug Marks.
“He’s healing up now and doing really good,” Burt said.
Golden Eagles are not uncommon for this area, but it is unusual to see one sustain such severe wounds.
“They are the top of the food chain predator, so they usually don’t get injured,” Burt said.
The eagle is currently dining on day old ducks for easy digestion and will soon move up to mice.
Burt expects the eagle will remain at the center for another one to two weeks. After that he will be moved to a center with an eagle aviary that will allow him to really stretch his wings.
The Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center is in the process of building its own eagle aviary. The board of directors has allocated $122,000 to build the structure. The organization has the funds, but the project will deplete the coffers, so they are readying to embark on a fundraising campaign.
To donate to the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center call 883-9414 or visit www.stanislauswildlife.org.