The golden eagle rescued by 11-year-old Preston Olson earlier this month is bouncing back from his illness and is well on its way to making a full recovery.
“He is able to now swallow his food without help, no more tubing every six hours is necessary,” wrote Susan Ahalt of Ironside Bird Rescue in Cody, Wyoming. “He has even been able to tear up a whole rat and consume it. He came in weighing five pounds and is now a bit over eight pounds. At this point it appears he will make a full recovery but only time will show if that’s possible. He’ll be here for months to not only make sure his throat is clear but to also gain muscle strength in my eagle flight barn.”
In fact so feisty is the young bird, which has been named Munchie, that Ahalt cautioned against anyone else doing the same.
“I want to thank Preston for caring enough to rescue this magnificent animal but warn everyone that what he did was extremely dangerous,” Ahalt wrote in an e-mail to ICTMN. “Munchie was so weak from starvation that he didn’t cause much trouble but within a week of arriving here, and being fed, he became very aggressive. He is still that way, the most shown by any eagle I’ve treated. I urge anyone who finds an injured or downed raptor, most especially eagles, to use great caution in approaching them.”
Only touch an eagle if it is “in extreme danger,” she said, warning that once their talon has a grip, they will not let go, especially if you struggle. Even a grown man cannot loosen the bird’s fierce grip, she said.
Preston found the bird in his yard, outside Riverton, on July 31. He and his mother fed the eagle raw chicken and water while waiting for authorities. The bird was suffering from the disease frounce, its throat so clogged with bacteria that it was near death from starvation.