Gramercy, La. -- Wednesday was moving day for a pair of bald eagles who were very sick critters only a short time ago. LSU veterinarians nursed an adult female and a juvenile eagle back to health and released them into a Wildlife Management Area near Gramercy.
The team treating the adult eagle diagnosed her with poisoning, most likely some kind of pesticide poisoning.
"They're a top predator," said Dr. Javier Nevarez, assistant professor of zoological medicine at LSU. "So they do scavenge a lot of fish and road kill at times, stuff like that."
The younger eagle, only several months old, had fallen out of its nest. Both birds were found by members of the public, who reported the injuries to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
"We've had a lot of very bad injuries this year and a lot of sick birds," Nevarez said.
In a typical year, LSU receives about 10 to 15 injured eagles, returning about half that number to the wild.
Bald eagles, including those in Louisiana, have staged a dramatic recovery from the verge of extinction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are more than 300 nesting pairs in Louisiana, including more than 60 nests in Terrebonne Parish alone.