- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) - A bald eagle rescued on the Mississippi coast is expected to recover from broken bones and return to the wild.

Wildlife Care and Rescue Center Alison Sharpe told the Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/1oKY4H1) that the injured eagle was captured in a backyard in Harrison County last week.

She said there’s no indication that humans injured the 3-year-old raptor. The three previous eagles treated by the center had been shot.

On Friday, Sharpe and center volunteer and president Billy Payne brought the raptor to the center’s intake trailer on the grounds of the Jackson County Soccer Complex for rehabilitation stretches to his wing.

The eagle is not fully grown. His head is just beginning to sprout white feathers, but he is a handful. Even with a broken wing and leg, the eagle held himself aloof until he’s wrestled to the table. “He’s a very powerful, dangerous animal,” said Sharpe, who warns people not to attempt to help eagles on their own but to seek help. “But he is fascinating, just a magnificent creature.”

His broken bones were healing by the time the bird was found March 15. His right wing was broken in the middle. His left femur was broken at the thickest point. Both had healed to the point a veterinarian couldn’t do much more.

Sharpe said the best route now is to keep the ligaments supple.

With his appetite back, it’s a job just keeping him fed - rats now, soon to be rabbits.

Sharpe estimates this eagle could be ready to return to the wild in two to three months.

“He’s probably going to be shorter in his step,” she said. “But he’s using that foot. And he should get a number of years in the wild and a chance to reproduce.”

Sharpe founded the center 20 years ago, and it now has a rescue group of about 20. They answer about 3,000 calls and bring in more than 1,000 wild animals each year.

“I can’t remember the last time I went through a day without getting a call,” Sharpe said.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com