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Shock and claw

Clyde Mueller/The Santa Fe New Mexican

This 2-year-old golden eagle, named James Dean Griffin, was rescued in White Sands and taken to the Santa Fe Raptor Center.

The (Santa Fe) New Mexican

SANTA FE (AP) – A young golden eagle shocked by a power line in southern New Mexico is recovering well in Santa Fe, and caretakers expect to release him in the spring.

The raptor was rescued in White Sands and taken to the Santa Fe Raptor Center in Eldorado, where the facility’s founder and director, Lori Paras, worked with wildlife veterinarian Kathleen Ramsay to save his life.

“Usually electrocution ends badly for birds,” Paras said. “It cooks them inside, or the current that’s traveled through their body will fry their nerves.”

In a dozen years of rehabilitating injured birds, Paras had never seen one recover from an electric shock. For two weeks, she and Ramsay watched to see how the raptor’s legs would do, worried he wouldn’t make it. His legs were torn and his tendons were exposed. One leg swelled a lot. “We were afraid we were going to lose him,” Paras said.

But his spirits remained high and his appetite good through the treatments and rewrapping of his wounds every three days. His legs are recovering “amazingly well,” she said.

Paras dubbed the recovering raptor James Dean Griffin – James Dean for the bad-boy looks he gave that reminded her of the actor, and Griffin because of the way he twists his head around to watch people. “He has an amazing spirit,” Paras said. “He loves to eat and he’s a character. He’s ornery.”

Paras worked at The Wildlife Center near Española and launched the raptor center eight years ago. The Eldorado center takes in any native New Mexico wild birds that are injured. Those that can’t be released back to the wild are kept at the center and act as ambassadors at schools or go to zoos or other sanctuaries.

Birds with injured feet and wings that don’t heal properly “can’t make a living and can’t survive in the wild,” Paras said.

The center currently has 20 birds of various species in its care.

Some of the migratory birds will heal enough to release, but they will have missed the fall migration, she said.

They’ll winter at the center and be released in the spring, in time for the migratory journey north.

James Dean Griffin should be good to fly off in the spring, Paras said.

“He has a lot of life to live,” she said.

For more information about the center, visit www.santaferaptorcenter.com or friend them on Facebook at Santaferaptorcenter.

The center is always in need of donations to feed the birds.

Donations can be made through PayPal on the website or checks can be sent to P.O. Box 32021, Santa Fe, NM 87594.

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