This white-bellied sea eagle has been in WIRES care after suffering burns from a power line.
This white-bellied sea eagle has been in WIRES care after suffering burns from a power line. Melanie Barsony

A long recovery, but there's hope for this magnificent sea-eagle

IT'S been a long road to recovery for this threatened White-bellied Sea Eagle after being caught in a power line for hours, suffering burns.

This unfortunate juvenile White-bellied Sea-Eagle became trapped when her back talon hooked in power lines at Palmers Island near Grafton. As she struggled to free herself, she ended up hanging upside down from the wire for hours. Origin Energy was called and the power was turned off while an employee climbed the pole and unhooked her talon from the power lines.

This white-bellied sea eagle has been in WIRES care after suffering burns from a power line.
This white-bellied sea eagle has been in WIRES care after suffering burns from a power line. Melanie Barsony

Fortunately, there had been some leakage of power to earth, so while the eagle suffered burns, she had not been instantly killed, as sadly is often the case. She was transported by WIRES volunteer Tony to the vet for immediate assessment and then transferred to Melanie, a WIRES raptor carer in Casino.

White-bellied Sea-Eagles are a threatened species and only with a team effort from several dedicated WIRES volunteers and specialised veterinary assistance would this eagle have a chance of survival.

The young eagle had suffered a number of burns, some deep causing muscle and cartilage damage. Over the first few weeks she was regularly transported by WIRES volunteer raptor carer Melanie to Casino Veterinary Clinic where three separate surgeries was performed by Dr. Ed King. As her wounds slowly healed antibiotics and ointment had to be administered and applied daily; not an easy task when one is dealing with an eagle.

Three months after rescue, she was given a clean bill of health and she was transferred back to WIRES volunteer raptor handler Danny in Grafton. Here she was placed into an intermediary aviary to regain strength. She has now been transferred to a large circular rehabilitation aviary where she can exercise freely and regain her peak physical fitness before release.

It has been a long haul for this beautiful eagle; it involved Origin Energy, specialised veterinary treatment from Casino Veterinary Clinic and a number of dedicated WIRES volunteers, all intent on seeing this threatened species flying free once again.

An all-volunteer organisation, WIRES relies heavily on the generosity of caring people for support. All donations $2 and over are tax deductible. Now is also a great time to join WIRES and start learning to be a wildlife rescuer. Our 24-hour hotline is for all rescue, advice or membership calls in the Northern Rivers - call 6628 1898 or go to http://wiresnr.org/Helping.html to find out how you can help.