By Brett Prettyman
The Isaacson family frequently spots bald eagles in the skies above their Farmington home but this week’s eagle sighting was different.
Scott Isaacson was feeding the chickens Monday night when something caught his attention.
"I turned the flashlight and saw this eagle on the ground. I thought he would fly as I got closer but he didn’t," Isaacson said. "He struggled like he was caught on something."
Isaacson had heard recent stories of bald eagles dying so he called officials. They asked him to get close enough to see whether the raptor would fly but it ended up wading through Farmington Creek in their backyard.
Wildlife officials later had a hard time finding the bald eagle. It had moved back across the creek and was hiding.
"He put up quite a fight," Isaacson said. "He was hissing and striking out."
Officers eventually captured the bird and sent it to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah in Ogden, where four bald eagles are showing symptoms of the disease that Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) says has killed 16 raptors since the first week of December.
The latest bird showed up on Christmas Eve from West Point displaying head tremors, lower extremity paralysis and digestive issues.
Six bald eagles turned into wildlife centers this month have either died or were euthanized.
"The problem is we can’t catch eagles showing symptoms of being sick and get them to the centers before it is too late," said Leslie McFarlane, DWR wildlife disease specialist. "By the time we can catch them, they are just too far gone."