(BLOOMINGTON) - WildCare Inc. is caring for two bald eagles at their facility on North Hartstrait Road west of Bloomington.
Rachel Bunn of the Herald Times reports that both eagles are being nursed back to health, are fledglings, or young birds that only recently acquired their flight feathers.
General Manager, Jennifer Cunnigham says, the first eagle came from Goose Pond State Fish and Wildlife Area, where it was found without parents. It was soon discovered that the bird was having problems eating and suffering with a fungal infection and a parasite that attacks white blood cells. It was in such bad condition, that the bird had to be fed through a tube.
WildCare got a second eagle a few days ago. Indiana conservation officers seized a bald eagle from the residence of a 49-year-old Greencastle man last week, who had taken it and tried to raise it as a pet. Bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which prohibits the possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, or taking of any live or dead bald or golden eagles, or any parts of the bird, nest or egg, unless allowed by permit.
The Greencastle eagle was in much worse condition. It came to WildCare underfed, severely dehydrated, covered in feather lice with a fungal infection. The veterinarian also put the eagle on antibiotics because of a suspected bacterial infection.
"According to the man who had him, he was feeding him catfish, but I think people underestimate how much they eat," Vargas said, adding that right now both birds are eating eight to 10 bluegill fish as a meal.
The eagles are probably eating more than an adult would, consuming three meals a day, but Cunningham said the first priority is getting them healthy.
Cunningham sees the recovery of the eagles in four steps, the first being getting their weights up and the second building muscles and teaching the eagles to hunt.
The Goose Pond eagle is starting to move toward step two, being allowed in WildCare's 40-foot flight cage. Both eagles will be placed in the cage full-time along with a baby pool of fish, so they can learn to hunt.
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