Injured bald eagle thrives at Detroit Zoo
Royal Oak — Harsen, a female bald eagle injured in a summer windstorm, is doing well in her new home at the Detroit Zoo.
The 1-year-old bird, named after the island at the mouth of the St. Clair River on Lake St. Clair, was rescued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and taken to Michigan State University veterinary hospital for surgery and rehabilitation.
She sustained an injury to her right wing when a June 2017 windstorm knocked down a tree holding her nest.
She’s been living at the Detroit Zoo since late December.
Despite her injury, Harsen is healthy and energetic, Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society said in a statement. “We are happy to provide a habitat where she can be with other eagles and receive the care she needs.”
Harsen even has male companionship.
Two rescued male bald eagles, Flash and Mr. America, also live at the American Grasslands habitat. The female is the second rescued bald eagle to live at the zoo in the past six months. A wing injury brought Mr. America from southern Indiana to the zoo in mid-November. Flash has been there the longest, arriving from Kodiak Island, Alaska, where he sustained a wing injury in 2009.
But don’t let her gender fool you. She probably will end up whipping the males into shape, according to the zoo.
“Though Harsen is the youngest bird in the habitat, at roughly eight pounds, she already outweighs one of the males,” Carter said in the statement. “Female bald eagles tend to be bigger and more assertive than males, so she might just become the ‘boss’ of that habitat.”
Zoo visitors will recognize Harsen by her completely brown head. Bald eagles don’t grow their top white feathers until between the ages of 5 and 6.
The name bald eagle comes from the Old English word “balde,” meaning white, referencing the white feathers covering the head and tail. Bald eagles use their feathers to balance. When they lose a feather on one wing, they lose a matching feather on the other side.