This just in from the Good News Department: A female bald eagle, nearly killed by acute zinc poisoning, has been successfully cured and released back into the wild, thanks to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and a local rehabilitation center.

The following story was posted on their Facebook page:

On January 10, 2016, DEC Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Michael Buckley received a call about a bald eagle needing assistance in the town of Wallkill. The caller said the eagle was in her backyard acting strangely.

The DEC also contacted a local wildlife rehabilitator named Barbara “Missy” Runyan, from The Friends of Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center in Hunter, NY.

Together, ECO Buckley and the rehabilitator managed to transport the eagle to the rehabilitation center for treatment. They determined that the 13-year-old eagle was suffering from acute zinc poisoning, which caused blindness and seizures. After days of treatment and rehab, the eagle regained her sight and was nursed fully back to health! It was released Saturday, from the same backyard where it was found.

If anything like us, you ‘re probably wondering where the heck that zinc came from. Turns out it can be found in a wide range of sources. The DEC notes that it is commonly found in fertilizers and galvanized metal coatings used in bridges and docks, and can bioaccumulate in fish and other prey.

They do not yet know how this particular eagle was poisoned.

Here are a selection of photos from the capture and release:

The rehabilitator and DEC ECO Mike Buckley alongside the 3-year-old boy who discovered the injured bird. Photo credit: NYS DEC.
Wildlife rehabilitator Missy Runyan puts the blind eagle in the transport box after it was found injured in the woods. Photo credit: NYS DEC.
The blind and injured eagle is brought to The Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center in Hunter, NY. Here she is cared for until she regains her sight. The eagle is housed in a special eagle enclosure to keep her stress levels down. Photo credit: NYS DEC.
The eagle receives treatment at the wildlife center. Here, volunteers gently straighten the eagle’s bent feathers with light steam. Photo credit: NYS DEC.
After two weeks, the eagle is deemed healthy enough to be released into the wild. Photo credit: NYS DEC.
The eagle is released from the same backyard where she was found. Photo credit: NYS DEC
The majestic bird takes flight. Photo credit: NYS DEC.
  • rusty

    “Zinc phosphide is a common ingredient in a new series of poisons used to kill rodents,” said Perrone. Zinc phosphide-based poisons don’t immediately kill the rats, mice and others rodents that consume it, so animals who ingest it remain temporarily mobile, but in a weakened state, making them easy prey for raptors and other forms of wildlife. – See more at:
    I read in a magazine that chelation was used to remove the zinc from this eagle. I am curious as to how this was done.