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Volunteers give oily eagle a bath at Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

It takes a lot of hands, covered in protective gloves, to wash an eagle.
It takes a lot of hands, covered in protective gloves, to wash an eagle. - Submitted

HILDEN, N.S. – It took 1,500 litres of water and 26 litres of soap, but Judique is now clean.

Judique, is a mature bald eagle who arrived, contaminated with oil or grease, in December. This was his second visit to the centre; he’d been in for treatment in March after he was hit by a vehicle, and released in July.

Judique was chosen as a name because that’s where he was found the first time. The last time, he was found at the landfill site in Guysborough.

Because he was thin, and also had to be treated for lead poisoning, he spent a few weeks regaining his strength before he was washed. With nine volunteers assisting, and Judique being fairly calm, the wash process went smoothly, although it does take a lot of time.

Water had to be heated to a certain temperature, with Dawn (blue) added until it reached the right concentration. The eagle had to be moved from one large tub to another, as the oily substance was removed from his body.

Judique’s feet were wrapped to protect volunteers from his talons, and everyone taking part wore protective eyewear and gloves, as well as Tyvek suits. To remove the oil, each area of the bird’s body needed to be carefully scrubbed with gloved fingers, while a toothbrush was used to clean around his head.

Once the washing and rinsing (with a final rinse done by hose) the eagle returned to the nursery, with a heater aimed at his enclosure to help him dry.  

Judique will spend a little more time inside the nursery before moving into the flyway with the other eagles, where he will remain until he’s ready for release.

 

lynn.curwin@trurodaily.com

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