Nebraska eagle that survived apparent snake bite set free after 4-month recovery

Nebraska eagle that survived apparent snake bite set free after 4-month recovery
World-Herald News Service

This is one tough bird.

A golden eagle found in western Nebraska with a possible snake bite has been released back into the wild.

The bird was found injured in August west of Gering, said Betsy Finch, a manager at the Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery center near Elmwood.

The eagle was initially cared for by a recovery center volunteer in western Nebraska and then transported to Elmwood for rehabilitation.

Finch said the raptor had a puncture wound on its foot, its leg was swollen, and the bird weighed half its normal weight of 10 to 12 pounds.

Finch said she’s not certain the wound was from a snake, but it’s a possibility.

Joel Jorgensen of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said snakes are a regular part of a golden eagle’s diet. While they feed mostly on prairie dogs and jackrabbits, the big raptors will swoop down for a snake.

Finch said the bird would have gotten bit while trying to make a meal of a snake that didn’t want to become dinner.

She said the eagle was treated with topical and oral antibiotics and fed plenty of rats to gain weight.

As the bird grew stronger, it was put in a 120-foot long flight pen where it built up its wing strength before being set free.

The bird was released last week near where it was found.

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