On May 1st, 2023 , Teton Raptor Center received a call about an injured Bald Eagle at a private ranch along the Snake River in the Hoback Canyon. The eagle was observed in an aerial interaction with larger Bald Eagle. The smaller of the two eagles (likely the male, since females are larger) had crashed to the ground and was exhibiting clear signs and symptoms of head trauma. One of the most obvious signs of severe head trauma is pooling blood in the mouth that is visible on the beak, nostrils, tongue and throughout the inside of the mouth.
Eagles can be very territorial during their breeding season and can show aggression towards their mates or other raptors that encroach into an occupied territory. At this time of the year, the female most likely has an active nest with eggs that have not yet hatched. Both partners need to take turns laying on the eggs to keep them warm, so it was crucial to get this eagle back out to the wild as soon as possible to meet the demands of the nesting season.
On May 4th, the eagle was ready to return to the wild and was released in the same location where he was found. He emerged from the kennel and flew a long distance before gaining lift and perching at the top of a tree.