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Surgeons save massive wedge-tailed eagle with broken leg

Jessica McSweeney, November 22, 2021 6:30PM Kids News

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Dr Stephen Fearnside (centre) performed the surgery on the injured eagle at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital in Sydney. The surgeons inserted a rod and plate to help repair Tuross’ broken leg, which suffered a bad fractured tibia near the joint. Picture: Richard Dobson media_cameraDr Stephen Fearnside (centre) performed the surgery on the injured eagle at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital in Sydney. The surgeons inserted a rod and plate to help repair Tuross’ broken leg, which suffered a bad fractured tibia near the joint. Picture: Richard Dobson

animals

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When 17 year old Klaudia Douglas began her early morning farm duties on her family’s property near the Tuross River in NSW, she was greeted by a rare sight – a massive wedge-tailed eagle with a broken leg.

Seeing the bird obviously in distress, Klaudia quickly called for help. Despite her own fear of birds, she was devastated* to see one of their local family of eagles hurt.

media_cameraKlaudia Douglas got over her fear of birds so she could help the wedge-tailed eagle she described as “the size of my kelpie.”

“He was struggling, flapping around and trying to fly – it freaked me out a little because he was the size of my kelpie,” she said.

“I’m seriously not a bird person, I can do cows that weigh nearly a tonne but won’t go near a bird, I won’t even go near chooks.”

“Straightaway I rang my mum. I couldn’t leave him there – I felt really bad for him because he was all wet and cold”.

media_cameraKlaudia Douglas, 17, got a big shock on her morning farm duties when she found a massive wedge tailed eagle with an injured leg.

Since the eagle, now named Tuross, was living in a nest on Klaudia’s farm he was trusting of the teenager, but as soon as the rescuers from Wildlife Rescue South Coast arrived he mustered* up all of his energy to give them a good chase, wary* of the new people.

Wedged Tailed Eagle Recovery media_cameraTuross the wedge-tailed eagle pictured has had surgery on his broken tibia. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Rescuer Amara Mohan immediately noticed the massive eagle had broken his leg, and after three hours of struggling he was finally captured* and eventually taken to Sydney’s Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH) for a tricky operation.

A pin and plate were put in his left leg, a delicate* operation on such a small tibia bone.

Wedge-Tailed Eagle Injured media_cameraNurses at Sydney’s Small Animal Specialist Hospital are seen here prepping Tuross for surgery. After being diagnosed with a broken leg, the wedge-tailed eagle underwent surgery to fit a rod and plate in the injured leg. Tuross will undertake rehabilitation before being released back into the wild. Picture: Richard Dobson

Wedge-tailed eagle with broken leg rescued

Ms Mohan said that after the exhausting surgery, Tuross is healing well at Raptor* Recovery Australia.

“He is really bright and alert, he’s using his leg and putting more weight on it now,” Ms Mohan said.

media_cameraX-rays confirmed a bad fracture in Tuross’ left leg at the tibia, close to the joint. All going well, he’ll return to birds of prey rehabilitation centre Raptor Recovery Australia in Fitzroy Falls for rehabilitation in specially designed free flight, round aviaries. Picture: Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital

Klaudia hopes all going well, Tuross can be returned to her family’s property.

“I’ve done a lot of strange things on the farm – chasing around a wedge-tailed eagle is one of the weirdest, but we’d love to see him back,” she said.

GLOSSARY

  • mustered: gathered, rallied, summonsed
  • wary: unsure, cautious, alert, guarded
  • captured: caught, seized, held
  • delicate: fragile, frail, breakable, fine
  • raptor: a bird of prey

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. Why was the eagle named Tuross by his rescuers?
  2. Why did Tuross seem to trust Klaudia, the teenager who found him injured?
  3. How long did Tuross evade capture once Wildlife Rescue
  4. What does SASH stand for?
  5. Tuross broke which bone in which leg?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Perspective of an eagle
Write a brief newspaper report about this event from the perspective of Tuross, the wedge-tailed eagle. You can create the narrative of where he came from, how he broke his leg, what he thought of his rescuers and how his recovery is going.

Be as imaginative and creative as you like to make an interesting story.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
Work with a partner and write all the things you know about wedge-tailed eagles.

Have you seen one before? What makes them special?

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Science; Personal and Social

VCOP ACTIVITY
What happens next?
Imagine this story becomes part of an animated series made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell the complete story and this article is only Part 1. Think about what the rest of the story could be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Visual Arts; Visual Communication Design; Critical and Creative Thinking

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