Rescued bald eagle has died, Audubon bird rescue says

Female eagle dies after storm drain rescue

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist, Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter, Melodi Smith - Multimedia Journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - The bald eagle that was rescued from an Orlando storm drain last Thursday has died, Audubon Birds of Prey said on Tuesday. 

The eagle was in critical condition on Monday after its condition started to deteriorate over the weekend. 

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In a sad turn of events, the bald eagle rescued from an Orlando storm drain last week is now in critical condition, Audubon Birds of Prey said Monday.

The bird’s condition started to deteriorate over the weekend, the center said.

On Sunday, the eagle started showing signs of paralysis and its blood values dropped.

"We went to check on her and she started to show signs of paralysis," said Dianna Flynt, rehab supervisor at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland. "Very quick onset kind of a thing and it's gotten worse."

The eagle was taken to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey after it had been stuck in a storm drain for hours on Thursday, latched onto another bald eagle following a territory fight. One of the eagles suddenly flew away. The remaining eagle was pulled from the drain by firefighters.
 
Flynt said the eagle initially appeared to have a broken beak and puncture wounds from the fight with the other eagle. On Monday she said she noticed fluid or air around the eagle's heart.

The bald eagle was taken to Winter Park Veterinary Hospital for treatment, but is back at Audubon on Monday.

“It’s a waiting game,” Flynt said. “The staff is very sad about this.”

Veterinarians are trying to rule out a possible blood clot or spinal trauma and it appears there is fluid around her heart, Flynt said.

Flynt and her team are trying to keep the eagle comfortable resting on a heating pad, checking on her regularly to feed her and give her medicine.
 
The injured bald eagle is the 65th one to be brought to the Audubon Center this year.
 
"They start showing up in August and September, now in October they come into territory and go back where they're bred from," Flynt said. "This time of year, eagles fight for territory. Someone comes into someone's territory you have to fight to protect it."
 
Flynt said her success rate for saving birds of prey is around 40 percent.
 
"It's heartbreaking when you can't save all of them but you do what you can do," Flynt said. "You put them back free so they can do what they do." 
 
The center originally estimated that the bald eagle's recovery would take about six weeks.
 
The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey is a non-profit and operates entirely on donations. So far this year, Flynt said she and her team have taken in and cared for more than 700 birds of prey.

This is a developing story. Check back to ClickOrlando.com for updates.

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