Bald eagle recovering at wildlife center

February 11, 2009 6:41:20 PM PST
A bald eagle with a remarkable story is recovering under the watchful eyes of animal experts in Monterey County. The bird was found a week ago Sunday on Fort Hunter Ligget, an old military base in Monterey County.

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The bald eagle known AS 5M is being kept in a dark and quiet cage at Monterey County's Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

She was found February first entangled in a barbed wire fence. Her wings have severe wounds and are being treated with antibiotics and a special bio-dressing.

"The whole point is to get that tissue regenerated and have her completely recover and be pain free so she can fly free again," said Gary Tiscornia from the Monterey County SPCA.

No one is more interested in 5M's recovery than Kelly Sorenson. He knew the eagle 16 years ago when she was just eight weeks old and looked like this. She was among the first group of eaglets Kelly helped release into the Ventana wilderness as part of a repopulation effort.

"Yeah I remember this individual specifically put the transmitter on her and released her in 1993," said Sorenson.

The radio transmitter tracking 5M stopped working in 1995, but Kelly believes she is one of 12 breeding pairs the Ventana Wildlife Society monitors every year.

When she's healthy, 5M has a powerful wing span of about seven feet. Right now, her left wing is especially weak.

"We opened them to have a look ourselves but that's us doing it with her under anestia," said Liz Oettinger from the Monterey County SPCA.

Although there's damage, there's no broken bones, which gives everyone hope especially Kelly Sorensen.

"She along with others are the ones that brought bald eagles to the Central California Coast region, so it would be only fitting if she could again fly free," said Sorenson.

In the wild, 5M could live another 20 years. It's ironic that in captivity, she would actually live longer but no one wants this eagle to have that fate.

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