Bald eagle saved by Arizona couple recovers from poisoning
WILLIAMS, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona couple got to watch as a young bald eagle they helped save was finally able to take to the skies where it belongs.
The bird was released last week in northern Arizona after being nursed back to health following an episode of weakness and erratic behavior that was caused by lead poisoning, the Arizona Daily Sun reported .
Paul and Jan Osburne spotted the raptor in February in a pond at their Pitman Valley home.
“He was really weak and walked into the pond and then swam across it,” Paul Osburne said. “By the time he had swam the pond three times and not flown away we realized it was time to call Game and Fish.”
Arizona Game and Fish Department Wildlife Manager Will Lemon retrieved the bird and it was taken to Liberty Wildlife Refuge in Phoenix where it spent six months in recovery.
“He’s the hero. He was at our home within 30 minutes of us making the call and scooped it up with a blanket,” Jan Osburne said of Lemon.
When the young bird came into Liberty Wildlife, he had feather damage, which Jan Miller, animal coordinator, believes may have been related to the lead poisoning.
“Lead poisoning drops red blood cell levels so they become anemic, which leads to loss of energy and can have neurological damages too,” she said.
The bird received rounds of chelation which absorb lead.
After that, staff waited for its annual feather molt so it could replace all of the damaged feathers it had lost.
Liberty Wildlife was able to release the bird six months later.
Jan Osburne watched the eagle catch a thermal and rise up over Dogtown Lake outside of Williams, heading toward the far shore.
“This is just wonderful that he’s out there flying around how it’s meant to be,” she said.
Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/