UPDATE: Eagle rescued by Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority workers doing well

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 4:08 PM EDT
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - UPDATE: According to Three Rivers Avian, the bald eagle rescued at the landfill in Raleigh County continues to improve.

He is currently molting in his adult full white head and tail, which makes him 5 years old now.

The eagle’s lead level at intake at the end of May was 14.8, with medication it has dropped to 8.4 micrograms per deciliter. He still has almost a full pound of weight to put back on, so he and the eagle from Brooks are feasting well.

Watch him fly in his enclosure here!


UPDATE: According to the Three Rivers Avian Center, the Bald Eagle that was rescued from the landfill at Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority is doing well.

The center said that he is a strong flier and weighs approximately 10 pounds, which is the appropriate weight gain and strength for the healing process.

They are still working with the eagle to bring the blood lead level down, but the center is hopeful that he will be heading home in a couple of weeks.


Workers at the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority say it’s not uncommon to see Bald Eagles setting up their homes in the landfill- located off Fernandez Drive in Beckley.

“We first started seeing eagles here probably back in 2008, and they’ve become a common sight since then,” explained the company’s Executive Director, James Allen.

But when they saw a seemingly ill Bald Eagle Memorial Day weekend, they knew something wasn’t right.

“The eagle could not fly upwards,” Allen explained. “It could fly down the hill, but it couldn’t come up and, so, we put together a plan...Tuesday morning to try to corral it.”

The solid waste authority was able to catch the eagle under a blanket and get it into a cage as instructed by professionals. Before securing the bird, Allen and his employees reached out to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR), and they enlisted the help of the Three Rivers Avian Center in Hinton.

The non-profit was founded in 1990, and its goal is focused on “wild bird conservation” and education. In the case of the raptor rescued in Raleigh County, they determined that the four-year-old male was not injured, but poisoned.

“We brought it back here to the avian center, and one of the first things we did was to go ahead and test him- his blood- for a lead level,” shared Executive Director of Three Rivers Avian Center Wendy Perrone. “Sure enough, that’s the problem. He was lead-toxic. It was making him fly drunk; making him feel sick, very weak.”

The eagle immediately began therapy to counteract the effects of the poison. He was then given a bath to clean off the mud and dirt that was caked into his feathers.

“Now, he’s resting and taking it easy, and he’s got fish to eat, and he’s got, you know, people to care for him, so he’s resting,” Perrone told WVVA. “He’s gonna be with us for a good while. He’s got at least 10 days on this therapy, and then we’re gonna have a few days off, and then 10 days on again, and then we’ll retest.”

Perrone says the cause of the eagle’s lead poisoning cannot be determined but that it is possible the raptor salvaged prey that had been shot with led ammunition. What she can say, though, is that, once he has made a full recovery, he will be released back into his chosen home, the landfill in Beckley.

“We feel pretty good that we were able to save this one,” Allen added. “We’re hoping that he makes a full recovery within the next month to two months, and, hopefully, he’ll be released at the landfill.”

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