Ailing Bald Eagle Hospitalized On Independence Day Dies Amid Treatment

July 7, 2020

An ailing bald eagle that was found in San Diego's East County on the Fourth of July died today, the San Diego Humane Society reported.
"It is with heavy hearts we share that the ailing bald eagle admitted to San Diego Humane Society's Project Wildlife on July 4th has passed away," announced San Diego Humane Society spokeswoman Nina Thompson. "Our staff and partners have done everything in their power to help this bald eagle, and are extremely saddened by today's outcome."

This morning, the juvenile bird was having more difficulty breathing, despite receiving supplemental oxygen in the critical care unit at the Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center. Staff sedated and anesthetized the eagle for a thorough exam to try to determine cause. Full body X-rays showed no obvious abnormalities, according to Thompson, who said SeaWorld provided an endoscope to help visualize the inside of the eagle's trachea and GI tract. There were some small parasites in the bird's throat, but not likely to be the major issue, she said, along with evidence of slow gut movement in the GI tract. Once the diagnostic procedures were finished, the gas anesthesia was turned off, but the bird did not wake up and several unsuccessful efforts were made to resuscitate the eagle.

The bald eagle, which is the U.S. national bird, was found on the ground at the Barrett Youth Correction facility in Alpine on the 244th birthday of the United States of America. Thompson indicated it is very rare for the San Diego Humane Society to admit a bald eagle, especially on such a national holiday. Bald eagles have been the U.S. national bird since 1782.