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Talon-locked bald eagles treated at Nova Scotia's Hope for Wildlife

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At Hope for Wildlife, a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Seaforth, N.S., a major emphasis of the overall mission is providing care for injured animals and birds.

“From song birds to sea birds to birds of prey,” said director Hope Swinimer. “We get all kinds of mammals and anything you can think of.”

That includes bald eagles.

In January, Swinimer received a call from the South Shore area of Nova Scotia. Two bald eagles had been discovered on the ground.

“Their talons were locked onto each other, which does happen and we are aware that that happens,” said Swinimer.

“At first thought, we thought maybe they were doing their courtship routine.”

Upon closer examination, it was discovered they were two females.

“It was probably some form of dispute, perhaps over food,” said Swinimer.

One of the eagles was fairly healthy and was released within five days.

“The other had to stay because she had a badly fractured wing,” said Swinimer.

The eagle was operated on by the veterinary team at the animal hospital onsite.

“Looking at the X-ray, you can see it is kind of right in the middle of the bone,” said Tessa Jackson, who is with the medical team at Hope for Wildlife. “The break was mid-shaft, so it makes pinning nicer as the post can be placed closer to the joints.”

The best-case scenario is a full recovery within eight weeks.

“And then she’ll be outside for a bit regaining that muscle she’s lost,” said Jackson.

That will be followed by a period of exercise within a flight cage.

“We will be able to release her from there,” said Swinimer.

January was the busiest month ever for birds of prey at Hope for Wildlife, with 35 patients.

The facility will hold a “Hope Raffle” to help purchase expensive bird food – food that will be eaten by the recuperating bald eagle.

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