Sick bald eagle carried off trail by hiker

LA MESA, Calif. – A hiker found a sick bald eagle and took it to a wildlife center in Ramona to be tested, an animal care expert said.

A hiker found the lethargic bald eagle while on a trail between Montecito Way and Rangeland Road in Ramona. The hiker was able to wrap the bird in his coat and carry him out, according to Samantha Miller, Humane Society spokeswoman.

The full-grown bald eagle was taken to the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona Tuesday morning. The FFAWC transported the bird to Pet Emergency & Specialty Center in La Mesa for his exam, Miller said.

A bald eagle was tested and had x-rays done to determine what was causing him to be sick.

Initial tests determined the bald eagle does not have lead or rat poisoning in his system. Veterinarians are waiting for lab tests to come back to rule out West Nile and other infectious diseases. Test results were expected to be finished within five days.

The bald eagle will be taken back to the wildlife care facility to be nursed back to health and to get him to start eating on his own.

The wildlife experts will be feeding him fish and rodents from all over of the country. They are not sure if he spends time in the San Diego-area or migrated from other parts of the United States.

The vet is optimistic that the bald eagle will make a full recovery.  The earliest he could be returned to the wild is three weeks.