Bald eagle makes stunning recovery after being shot, left to die - FOX 32 News Chicago

Bald eagle makes stunning recovery after being shot, left for dead

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

What looked like the death of an iconic American animal has turned into an incredible story of recovery. A bald eagle was shot and left to die. However, the bird has found new life thanks to the help of some caring humans.

"This is his ulna. This is his radius, and that's the bullet," said Dr. Jen Nevis of the Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

X-ray's tell the story. The eagle was shot in the wing and the bullet is still lodged in its skin near a fractured bone.

"He just had a single shot, but it had struck his right ulna, which is the bone in his forearm. It had broken the bone badly enough that he could not fly," said Dr. Nevis.

Discovered in Oaklawn in late February, animal control officers brought the dehydrated and malnourished eagle to the Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

"The pellet was so close to the fracture site, I wanted to remove it so it wasn't a contaminant," added Dr. Nevis. "It was very fast and only required a couple of stitches."

It was a quick surgery, but the recovery process takes some time. The staff at Willowbrook will have to be patient with this feathered patient.

"We put wing wraps on him, which is like a splint but for birds. He didn't tolerate that, and he took it off like every day. We finally decided he's doing well, and as long as we keep him in a small area, he's not going to be stretching the wing out," said Dr. Nevis.

The eagle was progressively moved to larger cages over a one month period.

"He's going to try to fly on that before it's ready to go, and I did not want him re-breaking it," added Dr. Nevis.

The eagle will hopefully be released sometime this month.

The Willowbrook Wildlife Center is open to the public seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm.

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