Monday, June 22, 2015

D20 Decorah

A perspective from SOAR Executive Director, Kay Neumann
As I look back at a patient’s history, I’m always amazed at all the people that are willing to give of their time and talents to help wildlife. Our Decorah is no exception. On the anniversary of his rescue, I’ve been thinking about his path so far and planning for the future.

Wrapped after 28 June 2014 surgery on right wing.Wrapped after 28 June 2014 surgery on right wing.Raptor Resource Project and thousands of eagle watchers were involved as our eaglet grew and fledged. RRP’s vigilance after fledging allowed this eagle to be found and rescued after some sort of major trauma caused a broken bone and cuts and scrapes. A volunteer transporter got him to SOAR, where we temporarily stabilized Decorah’s wing and treated his wounds. A trip to Dr. Dirks at Dickinson County Small Animal Clinic was needed. X-rays showed an obliquely fractured humerus, with the break very close to the shoulder joint and the bone pieces completely unaligned. Dr. Dirks did surgery to align the bone and inserted a pin to stabilize the fracture site.

With his wing wrapped up, Decorah needed food, fluids, antibiotics, and quiet rest in intensive care. After weeks of healing we took another trip to Dr. Dirks for assessment. An x-ray showed sufficient healing to remove the pin. A little more ICU time was needed, then into a medium sized flight pen to start slowly to exercise. The hope was for some nice flapping work and then into SOAR’s 100 foot long eagle flight area to build stamina, but it was not to be.
Decorah’s shoulder joint was not working. We tried physical therapy and more time. Another trip to Dr. Dirks and an x-ray showed that the fracture healing had caused a calcified lump to form impeding the shoulder joint. Decorah would not fly again.

First session of fist training for Decorah.First session of fist training for Decorah.All along this journey so many well-wishers followed Decorah’s progress. The many donations helped not only Decorah’s rehabilitation, but to house, feed, and care for all of SOAR’s wild patients. As with almost all of our patients, Decorah has inspired people to move beyond being concerned about one bird and to work to make things better for all of our precious wildlife. Some people took time to learn more about eagle habitat and natural history. Others started action projects to prevent eagle mortality from lead poisoning or electrocution. Hopefully everyone involved now knows how essential clean water and open spaces are for wildlife.

Decorah is in training and will be one of SOAR’s education ambassadors. Even though he will not fly free, he will continue to inspire people to care about and take action for wildlife and wild places.