This is the season when last year’s bald eagle youngsters find themselves needing the services of Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society (PROWLS), and this year is no different.
A call came from Lund about an immature bald eagle that had hit a window with a tremendous bang and knocked itself out. When it arrived at PROWLS, we immediately checked him over and found that, in addition to the concussion, he was also absolutely emaciated, which is common in year-old eagles at this time.
We consulted with the experts at OWL, the raptor centre in Delta, kept him warm and quiet and gave him a small portion of boneless, skinless salmon, then crossed our fingers. He was alive the next morning and was sent to OWL via Pacific Coastal Airlines.
OWL’s exam showed that he had not had an easy life; aside from the window and starvation, he had a wing fracture that had healed and a wound on his throat, likely from a fight. He was kept in intensive care and received the best treatment possible. He is now improving steadily under OWL’s care and will start flying soon.
Young eagles have a tough life. While they are still in the nest, their parents care for them very well, bringing food and providing shelter from the weather. However, once they fledge, mom and dad spend a week or two foraging with them, then take off for their late summer vacation in Alaska, leaving the young eagles to fend for themselves. Many fail the test.
Then, in the early spring, the adults repair their nest and start to defend it, chasing last year’s young ones away, even fighting to do so. It’s a tough life.