Poisoned eagle returns to wild

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ROGERSVILLE, Mo. – They didn’t think he was going to survive. But, he did. A veterinarian at the Dickerson Park Zoo calls the recovery of a poisoned eagle a medical miracle. This afternoon, the bald eagle, which was treated for lead poisoning, got released back into the wild. His recovery took only two weeks.

Ozarks First reporter David Chasanov saw the bird fly in Rogersville. The eagle looked great, considering two weeks ago he was having seizures. His recovery wouldn’t have been possible without two men in Rogersville who helped the bird when he was down.

The first man was Andrew Feistel, a Webster County Conservation agent.

“I came to check it out, and I was actually able to walk right to it and pick it up,” Feistel said.

Then came Dwight Hedgpeth, the owner of the land where the eagle was found.

“I saw the agent’s truck at the end of the driveway and drove down there to see what was going on,” Hedgpeth said. “I helped him wrap the eagle up in a blanket.”

When the eagle made it to Dickerson Park Zoo’s rehab center, it was determined that it suffered from severe lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can happen after eating a carcass shot with lead ammo, or a fish that was caught with a lead lure.

Joey Powell with the Zoo says she hopes this recovery story serves as a lesson for hunters and fishers.

“When you have that choice between the lead and another option, just go with the other option,” Powell said. “You can still do all those things and not have the risk of poisoning the birds.”

The eagle’s story has gotten popular on Facebook. Some people now call him “Patriot.” Powell says with all of the craziness going on in the world right now, it’s amazing timing to see Patriot recover and beat the odds.

She says if you ever find an eagle laying somewhere, call the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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