A juvenile bald eagle was shot Oct. 12 at Nutten Hook State Unique Area in Stuyvesant in Columbia County. The bird was taken that day to The Animal Hospital in Slingerlands, where veterinarian Ed Becker and his staff began their treatment of the endangered animal.
“We don’t have to manhandle him to feed him every day,” Becker said. “Catching him up is hard on him, because he has a broken wing.”
The story has gained national attention, and Becker said they’ve received calls from as far away as California regarding the condition of the eagle. In the past, the hospital hasn’t used online resources to give status updates for injured animals, but in this case, followers of the hospital on Facebook are commenting daily on the eagle’s recovery.
“There have been eagles in the past that have generated this type of interest, but we didn’t have Facebook. That’s the difference. It was mostly phone calls and word-of-mouth networking,” said Becker.
In late November, Becker and his staff will reevaluate the eagle. The hospital is equipped with a large enclosed area where the bird will be taken in upcoming weeks and allowed to fly. Becker said that there’s also a possibility that staff will try and have the bird fly around the front of the property, attached to a string, before allowing the eagle to be released on its own.
“I’ve seen many birds with these types of fractures fly away,” said Becker. “Does that mean he’s going to? Anything could go wrong. But, I’ve seen many birds with similar fractures fly away six to eight weeks later.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has offered a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting. Anyone with information should contact Jason Bak with the service’s Albany office at 518-431-4341 or call the DEC ‘s Poaching Hotline at 1-800-847-7332.