ORLANDO, Fla. – The bald eagle that lost a territory fight with another eagle spent the morning in recovery at The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey.
The eagles were fighting mid-air when they tumbled into a drainage ditch near Curry Ford Road and Goldenrod Road in Orlando. The weaker eagle eventually fell into the ditch, but was rescued on live TV, in front of a large crowd.
Friday morning, veterinarians poked, prodded, and wrapped the eagle's injuries. The fight left the eagle, believed to be a female, with leg and chest injuries, puncture wounds, and a cracked beak.
Bird expert Michael Goldman said the nasty fight isn't unusual.
"They can lock talons like that for hours, it's a territory fight. They both want to be in that spot, and they're not going to let go. That's the best spot for them to mate, the best spot for them to make a nest, the best spot to raise their babies and they ain't gonna let go,” he said.
The center is now doing extra blood, lead, and fecal matter tests to determine the health of the eagle. They expect her to recover in six weeks, and be released back into the wild. She won't be released in the same area the fight happened.
Territory fights are common for predatory birds. The center has had to rehabilitate 63 birds so far this year for all kinds of ailments, including fights. Audubon Center is a non-profit facility. It costs $3,000 for every bird that is rehabbed.