Golden Eagle Released Into East Bay Wilderness After Near-Death Mite Infestation
SAN RAMON (KCBS)— A Golden Eagle that suffered a severe mite infestation was released healthy and strong at Las Trampas Regional Park in San Ramon on Friday.
U.C. Davis veterinarians say they’ve never seen anything like it and that the bird, affectionately named ‘Mighty Mite’ was in such bad shape at the height of the infestation, she was on the brink of death.
Michelle Hawkins, director of the California Raptors Center, described the eagle’s condition when she arrived in August of last year.
“She had no feathers on her head or her neck. She looked like a vulture. She had no feathers on her belly, so that wouldn’t allow her to thermoregulate to maintain her temperature,” said Hawkins.
The eagle underwent several months of intense rehabilitation. The wildlife program manager of East Bay Regional Park Doug Bell helped to trap the Golden Eagle at Altamont Pass.
He said mite infestation among these raptors is rare.
“A mite infestation of this nature in golden eagles has never been reported before. So it was very important to describe the condition and to get the word out,” he said.
Mite opened her six-foot-wing span and flew over Las Trampas where she was soon joined by a red-tail hawk and a turkey vulture.