There are many highs and lows when working at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. This one happens to be a REAL low.

Finger Lakes Raptor Center, Inc. via Facebook
Finger Lakes Raptor Center, Inc. via Facebook

A Bald Eagle was spotted near Sampson State Park in Romulus, New York. It was around 10:00pm that night, but the Park Manager noticed something rather unusual about the bird.

It was sitting on a high tree branch for several hours without moving. If this wasn't suspicious enough, things got worse. The Park Manager watched the Eagle fall from the top of the tree, all the way down into the shrubbery below. Though it didn't appear to be injured from the fall, something was still wrong with America's bird.

American bald eagle in flight

The Park Manager and his wife were able to secure the bird and bring him to the Finger Lakes Raptor Center (FLRC). There they found something interesting.

The Bald Eagle had a band number, which allowed the Center to look him up in their records. Not only was he a male, but he was banded as a hatchling back on May 6th, 2003. That makes him 19 years old! Pretty good for a raptor of that size.

What they found out next was completely devastating.

Finger Lakes Raptor Center, Inc. via Facebook
Finger Lakes Raptor Center, Inc. via Facebook

After leaving the Bald Eagle in isolation at Cornell Wildlife Hospital, he started showing neurological signs connected to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Which is more commonly known as bird flu.

Along with many other birds, raptors are highly susceptible to the contagious disease. The death rate for raptors with HPAI is almost 100%, which is unfortunately the same case for this Bald Eagle. The veterinarians made the safest decision and humanely euthanized the raptor.

There is not enough space, time, or resources to try and treat this.... Trying to do so could jeopardize all other birds in care...

Despite saving the safety of other birds and slowing the spread of bird flu, it is still sad the beautiful symbol of the U.S.A will no longer be flying over Sampson State Park.

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