Bald eagle hit by car euthanized

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by Jeff Thompson, KGW.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on February 21, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 21 at 4:30 PM

The following was sent to NWCN from the Audubon Society of Portland: 

Portland Audubon humanely euthanizes bald eagle found injured on Interstate 84
Eagle had been hit by a car, sustained injuries too severe to survive in the wild or in captivity

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Audubon Society of Portland's veterinarian has humanely euthanized a bald eagle that was admitted to Audubon's Wildlife Care Center yesterday. The male eagle had been hit by a car on Interstate 84 near Rocky Butte, and sustained injuries that caused paralysis in the bird's lower body.

"We look at a lot of factors when making this kind of decision, but it ultimately comes down to quality of life," said Deb Sheaffer, veterinarian for the Audubon Society of Portland. "The eagle simply couldn't have survived in the wild or in captivity, so it was time to end his suffering."

Multnomah County Animal Control staff and firefighters from the Portland Fire Bureau rescued the bald eagle and brought it to the Wildlife Care Center Wednesday, Feb. 20. The eagle was in critical condition, and an early exam revealed paralysis of both legs and a probable break in the bird's left leg. An x-ray confirmed the break and suggested vertebral trauma. Care center staff and volunteers stabilized the bird, treated him for pain and kept him isolated to minimize stress.

"The eagle was still in a stable condition this morning, so we were able to take him for a CT scan at the Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital," said Sheaffer. "We wanted to determine the full extent of the eagle's injuries to see if anything could be done to help, and a CT scan provides more detail than an x-ray."

The scan revealed a fractured vertebra and a blood clot that was pushing on the bird's spinal cord. This injury resulted in permanent paralysis.

"The scan results made it clear that the most humane course - the only course, really - was to euthanize the eagle," Sheaffer said.


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PORTLAND -- A bald eagle rescued Wednesday after it had been struck by a car on Interstate 84 was struggling to recover Thursday, officials said.

Wildlife Care Center Veterinarian Deb Sheaffer said the bird had one leg still paralyzed. Vets were closely examining the bird Thursday afternoon and hoped to update its condition.

Some drivers flagged down a fire truck on I-84, near Northeast 102nd Avenue, to alert firefighters that the injured bird was lying on the shoulder, according to Lt. Rich Chatman of Portland Fire & Rescue.

Traffic was stopped for the rescue.

Chatman said animal control officers picked up the bird, a male bald eagle with an 8-foot wingspan, and took it to the Audubon Society of Portland for evaluation.

Raw video: Bald eagle rescued on I-84

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Photo courtesy of Brad Martin, Portland Fire & Rescue Station No. 3

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