A bald eagle that apparently was struck and seriously injured by a car north of Bend on Saturday was recovering Sunday at a wildlife rehabilitation facility as officials worked to determine the extent of his injuries.
Deschutes County sheriff's deputies responded to a call late Saturday afternoon about the bald eagle found off 61st Street and brought him to High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, said Jeanette Bonomo, a veterinary technician and raptor veterinary specialist with the facility.
"This magnificent bird is suffering spinal trauma, as he is exhibiting a lack of pain response in his toes. He does have some nerve activity in his tail and lower body," Bonomo said on the facility's Facebook page.
The rehab center "provided initial ER treatment (IV fluid therapy, corticosteroids and pain meds), and hope to get some radiographs of him (soon)," Bonomo wrote. "This one really needs your well wishes, good thoughts and vibes!!"
"He's a gorgeous eagle," Bonomo told NewsChannel 21. "How does someone hit one of these birds and NOT stop? It's unbelievable to me."
She noted the parallels to a famous, injured and rehabilitated bald eagle from 2011, which gained the name "Patriot." His video went viral when veterinarian Dr. Jeff Cooney provided "mouth to beak" resuscitation after Patriot stopped breathing during a procedure.
"Quite similar, eh?" Bonomo said. "Both hit by car and found lying on the side of a road. Both spinal trauma (although Patriot had other extensive injuries)."
Bonomo thanked the sheriff's office, which she said is "so awesome and helpful with wildlife," and expressed hope that this bald eagle also will be able to rehabilitate and recover, as did Patriot, which later was taken to the Blue Mountain Wildlife Center in Pendleton.
"We have administered a bolus of IV fluids with Vitamin B complex (helps with nerves) and also Dexamethasone (a corticosteroid to decrease inflammation and shock)."
Bonomo said the eagle was found on or near the roadside, and a road-kill marmot was nearby.
"It is assumed he had been feeding on the marmot, then flew off when a car came to close, but he was hit. We fear he has a spinal injury. Although he has little pain response in his toes, he is able to move his tail and shows some other signs of lower nerve function. Fingers crossed for his recovery, he'll need it!"
Preliminary tests indicate the eagle is paralyzed in both legs.
"If there's no way for him to regain the use of his legs, then the humane thing to do would be to euthanize him," said Cooney, president of the rehab facility. "But I'm hoping that's not the case."
It's too early to tell if he'll make a full recovery, Cooney said.
They also need fresh trout to freed the eagle, and ask anyone who can share some to e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more of High Desert's work at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/highdesertwildliferescue