July 01, 2011
WHAT: The MU Raptor Rehabilitation Project will release a mature bald eagle named “Einstein” back into the wild on Monday, July 4 following two months of medical rehabilitation.
WHO: Members of the Raptor Rehabilitation Project
WHERE: Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, south of Columbia. The release will take place in the parking lot near the Missouri River. Directional signs to the event will be placed at the entrance to the Conservation Area.
WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 4
WHY: Einstein is a mature bald eagle who was admitted to the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on April 20, 2011. A Missouri Department of Conservation agent brought the ailing bird from the Macon area to the veterinary hospital. Einstein was showing signs of a severe neurological problem. He appeared disoriented, depressed, was unable to stand, and had uncoordinated movements. He was also discharging a foul-smelling liquid from his mouth and nose that was consistent with a condition known as gastrointestinal stasis, which involves food rotting in the bird’s digestive tract rather than being digested completely.
Tests revealed that Einstein had toxic levels of lead in his body, which he most likely developed from eating fish that had consumed lead. Veterinarians at the teaching hospital treated him with EDTA, an agent that binds lead into a form that can be excreted from the body. After three rounds of the treatment, tests determined that the level of lead in Einstein’s blood had returned to normal.
He was discharged from the hospital on May 18, and has been recuperating and rebuilding his flight muscles in the Raptor Rehabilitation Project’s flight cage at the College of Veterinary Medicine. He is flying well and is ready to be returned to the wild.
The Raptor Rehabilitation Project educates the public about birds of prey, combining natural history and species information with personal experience to deliver educational programs throughout mid-Missouri. The project also gives veterinary students, community members, and other students the opportunity to work hands-on with professional veterinary medical faculty and cutting-edge technology to rehabilitate and release injured or ill birds. The project currently has four other birds being rehabilitated for eventual return to the wild and also is caring for nine birds that cannot be released.
NOTE: This event is free and open to the public. The Raptor Rehabilitation Project encourages community members and students to volunteer for opportunities, including helping to feed and care for birds of prey, as well as participating in its educational programs.
More information is available online at: www.raptorrehab.missouri.edu.