On Oct. 22 I received a call that an eagle had been injured on Highway 123 going out to East Carbon about mile marker two.
I went out to find an immature golden eagle that had horrific injuries. I immediately packed him up for a journey into Payson. I called my vet and arranged to meet him at his office (on his day off) to access the situation and possible perform emergency sur-gery. I drove to Payson and after the exam, surgery was performed.
The bird had a lacerated left eye. A broken bone in his left wing and his entire crop, (the pouch were food is initially stored after eating) was now missing. He was also in-fested with lice. I assisted my vet for over an hour in surgery, trying to make sense of the mess we were trying to put back together. An IV was started to administer fluids and pain killers. For as bad off as this bird was he had an amazing will to live and was full of fight.
After surgery, I chose to leave him there since another surgery would have to be per-formed in a few more days on the wing. The bird was not stable enough to keep under anesthesia for long enough to fix the broken wing. We watched him for awhile and when I was comfortable with what I saw, I came home. It was nearly 7 p.m. when I got home.
Welcome to a day in the life of a wildlife rehabilitator.
Whoever hit this bird did not stop or call it in to police. I am frequently called to that particular area. Unfortunately, eagles and other raptors are hit there more often than one thinks. Most often, the damage I see, including Sunday's event are caused by semi-trucks. Cars would receive extensive damage after hitting an eagle and it has happened on occasion, but semi's (usually out of "C" Canyon) and doing the most damage and not reporting what has happened. The whole situation is disturbing, but to just keep driv-ing is what bothers me the most.
This bird will be in rehabilitation for at least four or five months. It is not sure whether or not he will ever be releasable due to the eye injury; time will tell. There will be several hundreds of dollars spent on food, the surgeries, medications, xrays and gas back and forth to the vets and the person that did this will not have put out one dime. Once again I will try to come up with the funds for this, more than likely, it will be out of our own pockets.
I love doing what I do, but please, if you are ever in the situation of hit-ting an animal, please, call someone and take some responsibility.
A life may depend on it.