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Tulsa Zoo Rescues, Cares For Injured Bald Eagle

Read below to learn the latest updates on the juvenile bald eagle who was rescued by Tulsa Zoo staff and brought to the zoo’s veterinary hospital for supportive care on June 9, 2016. We will continue to provide updates as they become available. We appreciate your support and concern.

June 18, 2016

After one week of treatment, the Tulsa Zoo is proud to announce the scheduled release of a rescued juvenile bald eagle. The eagle was found in downtown Tulsa on June 9, 2016, and brought to the zoo for supportive care.

The eagle was thin and dehydrated, but x-rays showed no signs of fractures. There were no significant signs on blood work, but testing did indicate muscle damage, which aligns with eye-witness accounts that the bird had flown into a structure. After undergoing supportive care, the bald eagle has made a full recovery in the care of Tulsa Zoo’s Animal Health Staff.

The Tulsa Police Department alerted zoo staff about the bald eagle and assisted in capturing the bird so Animal Health Staff could assess its injuries. Tulsa Police Officer J.D. Pyatt was one of the individuals who helped zoo staff capture the bird, so he will release the eagle back to the wild.

The Tulsa Zoo will release the bald eagle at 7 a.m. tomorrow, June 19. The release will take place near 23rd Street, just west of the Arkansas River. Media and public are welcome to attend.

June 12, 2016

The young bald eagle continues to do well. The bird is alert, active, and eating and moving around well. Lead testing was completed and results show normal levels, not lead toxicity. This is good news, but we remain cautiously optimistic as we do everything we can to care for this important bird. Veterinary staff noted changes in the eagle’s blood work, which are consistent with trauma, including muscle damage. These results align with eye-witness accounts that the bird had flown into a structure and fell to the ground.

The bird is continuing to receive supportive care at the zoo’s veterinary hospital as we continue to monitor its condition.

June 10, 2016

Late in the evening on June 9, 2016, ┬áthe Tulsa Zoo’s ┬áDirector of Animal Health, Dr. Kay Backues, was contacted about an injured bald eagle in downtown Tulsa. Dr. Backues went to the location and found a juvenile bald eagle on a sidewalk. There was concern that the bird had flown into a structure, so Dr. Backues transported the young eagle to the zoo’s veterinary hospital so we could begin providing supportive care.

The bird’s gender has not been determined, but it is estimated to be 1 to 2 years of age. Animal Health Staff conducted a full exam, including x-rays, blood work and lead testing. Through initial tests, staff determined that the eagle had no fractures, but appeared to be in thin body condition. Early clinical signs are consistent with eye-witness accounts that stated that the bird flew into a structure and possibly became stunned. At this time, the bird is alert, moving around, and using both of its wings. We are cautiously optimistic, but test results will provide additional information to determine the bird’s overall prognosis. Test results will also help us determine the likelihood that the bird can return to the wild, which is our ultimate goal. We hope to have test results sometime next week.

We will continue to provide updates as they are available.


The Tulsa Zoo would like to thank the Tulsa Police Department, who alerted us about the injured bald eagle, and assisted in capturing the bird so we could assess its injuries and begin providing supportive care. TPD also escorted Dr. Backues so the bird could be safely transported to the zoo’s veterinary hospital.

Additionally, the Tulsa Zoo would also like to thank the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. It was crucial to determine if the eagle was suffering from lead poisoning, which would require an intense treatment plan that we preferred to avoid, if possible. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper generously transported the eagle’s blood to the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Stillwater, which was imperative to help us get the results back quickly.

We are incredibly grateful to all other individuals involved who assisted in helping us so we could provide the best care for this important bird.