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Young golden eagle rescued from Lyle Hill wildfire burning in Washington

By DREW MARINE

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    COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE, Washington (KPTV) — A six-week-old golden eagle is now recovering at an Oregon wildlife clinic after being rescued from the Lyle Hill wildfire burning on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.

While working that wildfire, the Meadow Fallers – a firefighting-timber felling crew, found an injured six-week-old golden eagle.

“The oaks around it didn’t burn, they don’t tend to burn too well, so it had a little bit of shelter there, but the ground was definitely all black, singed and smoldering around where the eagle was standing,” Todd Jacobsen, a Wildlife Conflict Specialist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said.

That’s when Jacobsen and Oregon veterinarian, Dr. Jean Cypher stepped in.

“I wrapped a blanket around it, and I didn’t really get a good look at it until we brought it back to the vehicle. It looked bad, the outside feathers were pretty burned but we didn’t notice any damage past the feathers,” Jacobsen said.

When Jacobsen got the eagle back to the car, Cypher was on standby to help treat it immediately.

“It was kind of a two-person effort. I held the eagle while she very skillfully hydrated the eagle. She inserted a tube all the way down into the eagle’s stomach and had a couple of large syringes of water ready to go,” Jacobsen said.

Now, the eagle is back in Rowena with Dr. Cypher at the Rowena Wildlife Clinic, where she said he’ll stay for at least another few weeks.

“Pretty much he’s just a hungry baby right now,” Cypher said.

Cypher and the WDFW are still deciding where this eagle will go, but she said the hope is he can go to a falconry to be with other golden eagles.

“That’s going to be essential for his mental health,” Cypher said. “To teach these orphaned or injured golden eagles that get interrupted how to learn to fly and particularly how to find thermals because they need to locate thermals to get high enough to start hunting.”

Cypher said this eagle is expected to make a full recovery, but it will be at least a year before it can fly and about three years before it can be released back into the wild.

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