Injured bald eagle released after making full recovery in Fairfax County

After a month in rehabilitation, a bald eagle that was found injured along a trail near Burke Lake was successfully returned to the wild Sunday morning.

The raptor, believed to be about 5 years old, was found with an injured shoulder and suffered from lead poisoning, which is a common issue many eagles face, according to the rescue team.

Crowds gathered as wildlife officials prepared to release a bald eagle that was found injured near a trail in Fairfax County, Va. on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Standing before about 500 onlookers, Dr. Belinda Burwell of Wildlife Veterinary Care reminded visitors of the importance of taking care of natural habitats and helping to prevent lead poisoning in eagles.

“It happens because of the things they eat, and one source is fish that [have] swallowed lead sinkers, so we really encourage people not to use lead fishing tackle,” Burwell said.

Burwell said she believed the eagle belonged to one of the two pairs of bald eagles that nested in the park.

Despite a short time down and out, she said she is confident that the eagle will be welcomed back into the wild.

“Eagles pair bond for life,” Burwell said. “He’s only been gone a month so we’re pretty sure that his mate will accept him back.”

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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