It is very common for the PAWS Wildlife Center to receive birds that have collided with windows. In fact, "window strike" is second only to "cat attack" as a cause of injury for birds in our care. A vertical, perfectly reflective surface is something that is not generally found in the natural world and thus far evolution has not equipped most birds to differentiate between reflection and reality. If windows reflect images of the sky or nearby vegetation they are seen as the real thing by birds. When the birds attempt to fly to them the illusion is shattered, sometimes literally. The victims of window strikes are usually songbirds, woodpeckers and small birds of prey, but a patient we received on June 27 reminded us that even very large birds are not immune.
On June 27 a woman in Burien, WA heard a large thump on the picture window at the front of her house. When she went outside to investigate she found a stunned Bald Eagle sitting on her front porch. She called PAWS, and a staff member and volunteer drove to Burien to retrieve the eagle. After arriving back at the widlife center the eagle was examined by a rehabilitator. No broken bones were found during the examination, but the eagle was suffering from serious head trauma. She was dazed, weak and unable to stand up. She was given fluids and other supportive care to stabilize her condition.
In the days that followed, the eagle slowly began to improve. The veterinary staff performed additional diagnostic work to assess the bird's health. No abnormalities were found. As of this writing the eagle is back on her feet and she has been moved to a small outdoor enclosure to continue her recovery. If all goes well she will next move to a large aviary where she will be conditioned for her eventual release.