Bay Area vets treating eagle found shot in wing

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Veterinarians at the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital in Walnut Creek are fighting to get an injured eagle back in the sky.

The struggle is even more frustrating because investigators now say the majestic bird was shot.

For an injured Golden Eagle, the flight to the examination room Wednesday was in the arms of veterinarians.

They're examining the progress of the bird's injured wing. The six-and-a-half-pound female was discovered last week in Pittsburg. But vets at the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital were stunned when they imaged the injured wing.

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"A lot of nuisance animals will sometimes get shot, things like that. But it's hard to see why would somebody shoot an eagle. You know, we all kind of asked ourselves that," says Dr. Allison Daugherty, D.V.M.

They say the pellet had fortunately missed the wings' joint area. But after removing it, the amount of damage was severe enough to require surgically implanted pins.

"I kind of secured them all together so it's sort of holding that fracture securely," she explains.

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Regular medication helps the healing. But they say the bandage wrap will likely remain on for several weeks at least. If all goes well, vets will then begin physical therapy, stretching the joints and wing muscles in the hopes that the golden eagle can return to the sky.

Right now, it is still only a hope.

"We're still really in the early stages, so it's one of those, I'm pleased with how it's going, but i'm going to take it day by day, bandage change by bandage change, basically," says Dr. Daugherty.

Wildlife experts say the Diablo Range is home to one of the heaviest concentrations of golden eagles in the state. Veterinarians here are hoping with hard work and a little luck, this majestic creature will be able to rejoin them.

The circumstances of the shooting are still a mystery. Rangers with the Department of Fish & Wildlife are investigating what happened.

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