Thursday, October 30, 2014
The first thing that came to mind was lime. It's very caustic and is sometimes used on a carcass to speed up decomposition. He was found on BLM land and as people tend to just dump whatever they don't want there, it was possible. I reported him to our local USFWS and BLM enforcement agents so they went out to scan the area but found nothing.
I also sent photos to the University of MN Raptor Center for their opinion. The USFWS agent sent them to one of his pathologists for her opinion. Both of them came back saying that it is pox. Our state lab is now doing tests on some tissues to make a definitive answer but I'm sure it is avian pox. NOTE: the report came back as positive for avian pox.
Unfortunately, at only 4# 10oz, half of what he should weigh, he didn't make it, he died last night. Another problem is that if he had siblings in the nest then they too have the disease and will also probably die from it as they are too young to have built up an immunity to the virus. I have gone through a lot of bleach water on the area where this baby eagle stayed and will continue to disinfect for some time to come.