An injured bald eagle is another step closer to returning to flight and its native habitat, thanks to the team at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn.
Dr. Jen Nevis, the center's staff veterinarian, recently performed surgery to remove a bullet, which broke the ulna bone of the eagle's right wing.
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Officials say an Oak Lawn resident found the injured bird in his backyard in late February. In addition to its broken wing, the eagle was suffering from malnourishment and dehydration when animal control officers brought it to Willowbrook.
Nevis said the eagle appears to be doing well and, if no complications arise, likely will be released into the wild sometime late next month.
When the eagle arrived at Willowbrook on Feb. 20, Nevis said, "the wound was no more than three days old."
After the wound was stabilized, the eagle was moved from a small crate-sized container to an 8-by-8-foot outdoor fenced area.
"He could walk quite a bit freely in there, move perch to perch and stretch the wing out, but he couldn't flap it and actually bear weight," Nevis said.
By Thursday, the eagle was healing well enough to be moved to a larger enclosure and to flap his wing several times while moving from perch to perch.
Willowbrook cares for more than 8,000 injured animals each year at the facility, 525 S. Park Blvd., Glen Ellyn.
The center is open daily. For details on hours and events, call (630) 942-6200 or visit dupageforest.org/WillowbrookWildlifeCenter.