Young bald eagles soar again after rescue from brink of death

WINLOCK, Wash. - Just days ago six young bald eagles were in critical condition after eating contaminated meat.

But on Saturday, after a week of medical care, they're getting a second chance to take wing.

Animal rescue workers at West Sound Wildlife Center on Bainbridge Island saved the majestic birds' lives. They were brought there after Good Samaritans spotted the sick birds in a field in Lewis County.

Six teams of veterinarians and volunteers - one per eagle - got right to work. Each eagle needed a good dose of antidote for them to finally be able to test their wings.

"The vets had to give him atropine to get his heart going a little bit more because he was almost dead," said Mike Pratt of the Wildlife Center. "We pulled these two back from death."

Each was in critical condition after they'd eaten the meat of two euthanized horses. Vets say just a few more bites and the young birds would have been dead.

"The horses are euthanized usually with a chemical, sodium phenobarbital and that goes through the entire blood system," says Pratt.

And on Saturday, they took flight once again. They were brought back to the Winlock area, where they were found.

"They were looking good - a lot better than when we last saw them when we packed them out of the woods," says Roy McFarlane.

One after another - all six left their cages and flew into the wild.

"People are mesmerized, just like I am, and the fact they're all alive and they're all going to fly off," says McFarlane.

With their release the shelter also announced the formation of the Fallen Eagle Fund, which will go toward medical treatment of all bald eagles at the Wildlife Center - to help get them back where they belong.

It's illegal to not properly dispose of livestock carcasses. An investigation into how and why those carcasses were left continues, and charges may be filed.