Injured bald eagle treated at the Tulsa Zoo, then released

Monday, January 31st 2005, 10:23 am

By: News On 6

Very few zoos are trained and equipped to rehabilitate bald eagles, but the Tulsa Zoo is. That came in handy when a couple near Sand Springs found young eagle hurt in their back yard.

News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson has the story about this special bird and his recovery.

The Tulsa Zoo tried to keep it a secret. No one, who visited the zoo in the past 2 and a half months, where the eagle was recuperating, would have even known he was there. Doctor Kay Backues and the zoo veterinarian staff let the eagle work out in a flight cage, while it got its wings back.

The News on 6 got a behind the scenes look into the rehab facility. The doctor says despite a broken right wing, the bird was in very good condition, thanks in "no" small part to the quick thinking of the folks who found it.

Sand Springs resident Marie Shaeffer: "Jim came up with his dip net and they got it in the net and I handled the big box. We put it in the box and the game ranger came and picked it up."

Dr Kay Backues: "They called somebody immediately. They didn't wait. They didn't keep him in their house for a week and try to feed him. That probably would have made the difference between a releasable bird and a bird we'd have to find permanent housing for. We could've very easily housed him here for the rest of his life, but it's better to give him a chance to be free."

Bald eagles that can't be released back into the wild end up in zoos, but that wasn't the case for this bird.

The eagle was brought back to the Shaeffer's back yard and released into the wild Monday afternoon. It has a tracking bracelet on its legs, but the veterinarian says she'll be happy to never see the bracelets or the bird again.

That would mean its rehabilitation was a success.

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