KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A bald eagle is on the road to recovery after being found by a boater on Douglas Lake.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency shared that a boater flagged down Wildlife Officers Justin Pinkston, Hunter Wisecarver, and Spencer Wilson about an injured juvenile bald eagle near Swanns Marina in Dandridge. The officers were able to capture the eagle and take it to the American Eagle Foundation. The foundation then took the eagle to UTCVM-University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
An exam revealed that the eagle had a broken wing that healed incorrectly. The TWRA shared that the eagle is believed to have been on the ground for a week or two before being rescued. Surgery is planned to fix the wing and once complete the eagle will either be rehomed by the USFWS to a sanctuary or be taken out west to the tribal authorities.
The TWRA also shared a fun fact about bald eagles: they do not get their white head and tail feathers until age five. Currently, there are more than 175 nesting pairs of bald eagles in Tennessee and most of the birds remain in the state year-round according to the TWRA. In addition, eagles from more northern breeding populations migrate to Tennessee for the winter, arriving in late October, and peak numbers of 300 to 500 individuals occur in late January to mid-February.
The life span of a bald eagle is about 39 years in the wild but nearly 50 years in captivity, according to TWRA. If you find an injured or orphaned bird, contact a permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator before picking the animal up or call the TWRA.