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Bald eagle with gruesome head trauma puzzles experts

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Posted at 8:10 PM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 21:15:04-04

A team of experts at Fontenelle Forest's Raptor Recovery program is trying to figure out what is ailing a bald eagle in their care.

"Never seen anything like it, and neither have any of the vets," reads the caption on the Fontenelle Instagram post with a photo of the eagle's head.

Bird No. 2017172, as he is oficially known, was brought to Fontenelle on May 28 from southest of Syracuse, Neb.

At the time of his arrival, Molly Mullen of Fontenelle Forest said, he was "completely emaciated."

But that wasn't his most noticeable issue.

"They noticed the top of his head looked just liked he'd bee scalped, or burned, or... something," Mullen said.

Betsy Finch of the Raptor Recovery program reached out to other such programs across the country for help, Mullen said.

"Nobody in any Raptor Recovery group could figure out what it was from the photo," Mullen said.

The bird has been so sick, his caretakers have avoided handling him any more than necessary.

"He's been getting ointment ever since he came to us on May 28," Mullen said.

His condition has improved — somewhat.

"He's eating a lot more than he was before, and he is more feisty than he was before," Mullen said. "However, he still hasn't attempted to fly, not even from the bottom of his cage up to a perch," she said. "So that's really worrisome to our team."

That team is planning to examine the eagle more closely on Monday morning, and hope to start finding some answers about his condition so they can try to plan for his future.

"He can't survive in the wild as of today because he can't fly," Mullen said.