Two eagles suffering from neurological damage were rescued near the Lemon Creek area on Monday, said Juneau Raptor Center general manager Kathy Benner.
A third, deceased eagle was also found with the injured birds.
“We got three from basically the same area,” said Juneau Raptor Center general manager Kathy Benner in a phone interview. “The first two had what appears to be the same issue. The third one was hit by a car, and it was killed pretty much instantly.”
The birds were located by personnel from the Department of Transportation, who notified the JRC, Benner said. The reason for their trauma is unknown. Possibilities range from blunt force, like a concussion, to poisoning from something they ate, Benner said.
“They’re both still alive. One woke up, and she is standing. We gave her charcoal to absorb any toxins she might have consumed,” Benner said. “They have neurological damage, but we don’t know what caused it.”
The other eagle was still unconscious as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Benner said. The JRC will provide supportive care until the birds are well enough to travel, and then JRC will send them to the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka, which is better equipped to support their full, long-term recovery.
“If we get more birds in with this exact same symptoms, we’ll try to figure out if there’s something at the dump they’re eating,” Benner said. “You never know. It could be in someone’s backyard.”
Benner encouraged members of the public to be careful of what they dispose of in the trash. Prescription medicine and euthanized pets can be particularly problematic, as birds will eat the animal full of chemicals and become poisoned.
Benner also encouraged members of the public to dispose of fishing line properly at home, instead of leaving it in the wilderness where birds can become tangled in it.
“We, as good citizens, can be aware of the fact that if we’re throwing medication away, that animals can get into the landfill or even their houses,” Benner said. “Ravens pick through garbage.”
The JRC rescues dozens of bald eagles every year. Last year, they rescued 33, Benner said. The two rescued Monday will be the fourth and fifth this year, and spring is going to see a lot more eagle activity, particularly near Lemon Creek, Benner said.
“Be aware that it’s springtime and there’s a lot of eagle activity. They may see eagles that lock talons and they tumble to the ground,” Benner said. “Usually they let go at the last minute, but sometimes they hit the ground.”