West Nile Virus Grounds Eagle
Lori Paras was choked by tears as she described her first encounter with a young Golden Eagle she's caring for at the Santa Fe Raptor Center. "He just laid there, blind. There's nothing you can do, there's no medication," she said of the bird's illness, a West Nile virus infection. Paras, director of the El Rito based Raptor Center, spent long nights awake with the bird for two weeks, thinking she would lose him. But three weeks after he was discovered near Farmington, NM, he has pulled through and is on a path to recovery. Its an uncommon success story.
The Golden Eagle, Oro....a nickname from a volunteer, has soft, speckled feathers and yellow coloring on his feet and beak. He is suffering from West Nile caused encephalitis, swelling of the brain and spinal cord. Oro is still blind, but has recovered enough to stand up again, and gets hand feedings and a rat in his cage at night. Paras is hopeful his sight will be restored and she'll be able to return him to the wild.