MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - One local animal clinic is helping to nurse an injured bald eagle back to health.
Dr. Elizabeth Billings said the Grant Animal Clinic's proximity to Lake Guntersville makes it one of the first stops for battered birds.
"We get about one every two or three years because we're so close to the lake."
Monday morning, a motorist spotted a bald eagle struggling along Highway 35 in Scottsboro near the B.B. Comer Bridge.
"He was on the ground, in the road and so the driver called and asked us to come get the bird," said Billings.
After examining the roughly 8-year-old eagle, the vet determined he had been shocked several weeks earlier. Unable to stand or hunt with his left leg, the eagle is also malnourished.
"The bone's intact, so that's good news, but the amount of muscle damage is pretty significant," said Billings.
The Grant Animal Clinic is approved to treat smaller raptors, such as hawks and owls, but under the Eagle Protection Act, Dr. Billings said she is required to send the eagle to Auburn University's Southeastern Raptor Center for long-term rehabilitation.
"They have much better programs to be able to, they have the funding and a lot of people that could take care of this bird, put a lot of time into him to get the best results."
While bald eagles are no longer endangered animals, Billings said they are still cherished ones.
"They're magnificent and you automatically just want to put all your effort into their recovery. You just want to give it your all."
The Clinic nicknamed the eagle "Scotty" because he was found in Scottsboro. The eagle is expected to be at the Auburn facility for the next several months. Dr. Billings said once he is back to full health the university will bring him back to Guntersville, where he would likely be released at a public event.
If you ever come across an injured eagle, or any wild animal, call your local veterinarian or your local animal control.