United States

Injured Eaglet Euthanized After Contracting West Nile Virus

Valor, the eaglet who recently fell from a tree, was euthanized Tuesday after his caregivers learned he had West Nile Virus. 

Valor fell 80 feet from a branch near his nest in the U.S. National Arboretum on July 26. The roughly 12-week-old eaglet was missing for days before he was found walking about a neighborhood about six blocks from the tree, a Facebook post from the Humane Rescue Alliance said

He was taken to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Newark, Delaware, for treatment, but staff members at the rehabilitation center say he was in very poor condition when he arrived. 

The center says he was severely underweight and anemic. On Monday, his caregivers learned that he contracted West Nile Virus. 

"Valor was extremely lethargic and had head and body tremors—signs of advancing West Nile disease," the Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research Center said in a Facebook post. 

A necropsy will be performed at another facility.

Valor and his sibling Victory are at the age when they begin learning how to fly. Fledglings typically begin to fly between 10 and 14 weeks. Victory already has flown. 

Eagles return to the same nest for many years to mate and raise their young. The cameras in the Arboretum have tracked Valor’s parents since 2016. The couple, dubbed Mr. President and First Lady, produced two offspring in three consecutive seasons. 

This is the second time in consecutive seasons that humans have had to intercede to make sure the fledglings survive until adulthood. In one case, an eaglet got its leg stuck and a climber had to go help it. 

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