Injured eagle rescued off roof

September 29, 2023

A bald eagle was among the 63 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a northern waterthrush, a sanderling, two great horned owls, a red knot, a big brown bat and a Florida softshell turtle. 

Von arx Wildlife Hospital staff received a call from the Naples Police Department with details and contact information regarding an injured bald eagle on the roof of Sugden Community Theatre.

John Stuesser, Superintendent of the local construction company, BUILD, kindly reported the injured eagle after noticing the bird while working on the building. John texted photos of the eagle to hospital staff. The eagle was in distress and its right wing was noticeably drooping low to the ground.

Due to his experience, skill, and close proximity to Sugden Theatre, hospital staff dispatched Conservancy Wildlife Hospital Volunteer, Tim Thompson, to rescue the eagle.

Rescue Team

Tim arrived and immediately knew the rooftop rescue was going to be challenging on his own. He called Wildlife Hospital Coordinator, Lauren Kneipp, for additional assistance. Lauren and Wildlife Hospital intern, Wendy Kvapil, gathered rescue equipment and headed to the scene.

The rescue team climbed two flights of stairs and two narrow, enclosed ladders to access the roof. See full rescue video.

Full rescue video

Everyone was strategically positioned around the eagle for the actual capture since there was concern the eagle could further injure itself by jumping off the roof. Even though getting down the enclosed, narrow ladders with the eagle in a transport box required ingenuity and extra duct tape to ensure the transport box stayed closed, the rescue plan was successful.

Once at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital, staff provided the eagle pain medication, electrolytes and time to rest before our staff vet performed a full exam and took radiographs.

Once the eagle’s condition stabilized, radiographs were taken which revealed the eagle had a fractured wing. There was significant soft tissue damage at the fracture site and both of the eagle’s feet had multiple lacerations. An antibiotic was incorporated into the eagle’s treatment plan. Daily handling is being kept to a minimum. The eagle will be in our care for at least three months.

If you believe you have a situation involving a sick, injured or orphaned animal, please call the wildlife hospital for guidance. Being prepared to texts photos and video of the situation will help staff determine the appropriate course of action. The sooner an animal receives professional help, the less suffering it endures. Prompt medical attention is imperative no matter what species is involved. Please call us at 239-262-2273 for wildlife assistance.