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Injured bald eagle rescued on Lummi Island

Leslie Henry, clinic director of the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington, inspects an injured Bald Eagle, nicknamed Dorothy, before cleaning her tail feathers on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at the center.  She came in on Dec. 27, 2008 with puncture wounds on her chest and wings, as well as injured feet.  "She was probably in a fight with another eagle," said Henry.
Leslie Henry, clinic director of the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington, inspects an injured Bald Eagle, nicknamed Dorothy, before cleaning her tail feathers on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at the center. She came in on Dec. 27, 2008 with puncture wounds on her chest and wings, as well as injured feet. "She was probably in a fight with another eagle," said Henry. KATIE BARNES | THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

LUMMI ISLAND - Mike Granfors was on his way home from church Sunday, Dec. 28, when he spotted a rare bird ambling painfully down Seacrest Drive.

"I saw the eagle stumbling along the bank as it was heading down the road, and, God, I just couldn't believe my eyes," Granfors said. "So I stopped and looked and saw it was a bald eagle."

He could tell the bird was in bad shape: There was blood on the eagle's head and a wing.

"The eagle was running from me and acting like it was going to attack even though I could tell it was very weak," he said.

The eagle was suffering from puncture wounds on its chest and scrapes on its feet, likely battle wounds from a fight with another bird of prey. With lots of help, the eagle was recovering Tuesday, Jan. 5, at Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington.

That Sunday Granfors and a neighbor got a cage from island veterinarian Bill Bazlen and set to capturing the eagle without harming it further.

"I was able to get a blanket over its head to calm it down, at which point, we were able to grab the eagle and place it in the cage," Granfors said. "I was just hoping that there was a chance of recovery. I'm pretty sure if it had been out there for another hour it would have been a goner."

Granfors took the bird to Bazlen's house, and Bazlen called the Sarvey center, where injured animals are treated and rehabilitated.

The center's staff treated the puncture wounds and bandaged the scrapes on the bird's feet with a special pair of slippers that help extend the toes so the eagle can stand upright.

"They put red booties on it, and that's why they called it "Dorothy," like from 'The Wizard of Oz,'" Bazlen said.

Leslie Henry, director of the Sarvey center, said on Tuesday that since arriving at the center, Dorothy has been recovering. She's on antibiotics to protect against secondary infections, and she recently started eating solid food.

It's too soon to tell whether Dorothy will make a full recovery and be released back into the wild.

Even if Dorothy is able to fly again, Henry will have to find an enclosed space for her to stretch her wings to rebuild her muscles. Fifteen of the center's flights - netted enclosures - were damaged or knocked down in December's storms, including the one used for bald eagles.

"I do have three flights that will work, but they are currently housing other birds," Henry said.

Reach Anna Walters at anna.walters@bellinghamherald.com or call 756-2883.

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