Update on Injured Bald Eagle at Willowbrook

An injured American bald eagle being treated for injuries at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn has succumbed to its injuries overnight.

The eagle was brought to Willowbrook Tuesday morning after it was found alongside Interstate 55 at the Cass Avenue exit by an Illinois Department of Transportation road crew. A cursory exam led staff to suspect the bird had been struck by a vehicle, as it suffered from apparent head trauma and abrasions and contusions to its wings and feet.

On Wednesday morning, Willowbrook staff veterinarian Jen Nevis performed an initial necropsy on the bird and found no signs of internal trauma, ruling out the initial diagnosis that it had been hit by a vehicle, according to Willowbrook Wildlife Center Manager Sandy Fejt.
Willowbrook staff now suspect the eagle might have perished from West Nile virus and that its visible injuries were the result of it being on the ground and unable to fly for some time.

The bird has been transported to the University of Illinois, where a thorough necropsy will be done to determine the cause of death. Test results for West Nile virus, avian influenza and Newcastle disease are expected in a day or two, but results on more extensive testing on tissue samples will take longer, Fejt said. Updates will be provided on the test results on the District’s website

A check of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tag on the bird revealed it was the same eagle that had been brought to Willowbrook in February 2014 after being shot in Oak Lawn. It was treated for a broken wing and later released at Pratt’s Wayne Woods in Wayne in April 2014.

Willowbrook Wildlife Center is the only publicly funded wildlife rehabilitation facility in DuPage County and one of the few in northeastern Illinois equipped to treat native and migratory birds. The center treats more than 8,700 birds, mammals and amphibians each year.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for 100 years. More than 4 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 145 miles of trails, five education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube pages.

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Deb Humiston, Communications & Marketing
630-871-6402 | dhumiston@dupageforest.org 

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