A stunning and unusual eagle is being nursed back to health in Pueblo with hopes that it may someday return to the wild.
The Golden Eagle is cream-colored with a hint of light brown and red in its feathers, a result of its leucistic condition. It’s not an albino, but the signals to tell its feathers to produce pigment aren’t working, hence the very light color, said Diana Miller, raptor center director at the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo. [Noted in a related article, finding such a bird is a once in a lifetime event.]
“He was very thin, in very poor feather condition.” Miller said. “We have noticed that he also has an old shoulder injury, which probably will heal nicely, but he also had a very heavy load of bird lice — parasites chewing on his feathers."
The eagle is about 2 years old, still a youngster in the eagle world, Miller said. But there’s hope. He is molting now, and the new feathers are coming in a few shades darker. If that continues, he might someday be strong enough to survive in the wild.
For now, the bird is being fed dead rabbits and rats in an enclosure 20 feet square. There is a big pool of water inside where he can bathe. If he continues to get stronger, raptor center workers will let loose live rodents in his enclosure and teach him how to hunt.
“He is all golden eagle. He is very wary of us,” Miller said. “He’s intelligent and curious, and he wants very much to be an eagle,” she said.
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