Young sick Eagle found by Riverton boy; Taken to a bird rescue center in Cody

(Riverton, Wyo.) – An 11-year-old rural Riverton boy rescued a sick juvenile golden eagle this past week that is now under the care of an avian specialist in Cody. Preston Olson found the raptor in his yard and was able care for it before the Wyoming Game and Fish Department could arrive.

“I really appreciate the boy caring for the eagle and calling the game and fish, because he saved its life,” said Susan Ahalt at the Ironside Bird Rescue Center in Cody, where the bird was taken. “It was so weak when it got here that its wings were floppy. It was within days of dying,” she said.

Ahalt has nicknamed the eagle “Munchy” and she said it is the “meanest eagle I’ve ever seen,” she said laughing. While the raptor hasn’t tried to bite her, it has chased her around the room. “This eagle is only three months old and it only weighs 5 pounds, that’s half of what it should be,” Ahalt said.

The eagle is suffering from a bacterial infection known as “Frounce,” which is similar to what young children can get called “Thrush.” The bacteria looks like cottage cheese. “The eagle could not eat because its mouth and throat was clogged with this bacteria,” she said. “I’m feeding it by tube four times a day with a high calorie meal and giving it twice daily medicine, that should kill the bacteria.

“We found him in our yard about six miles outside of Riverton,” said Preston’s mom Heather. “We Googled what they eat and it’s all meat. My son gave him some raw chicken and water out of a big plastic bowl.”

The frightened eagle calmed down after about three hours of feeding and giving it water.

Despite the aggressive reputation of eagles, this bird was calm, probably because it was so weak, Ahalt said. “The boy was very lucky he was not injured by the eagle.”

Wyoming Game and Fish Biologist Stan Harter of Lander went to the boys home and transported the sick eagle to Cody. “It gave us more fight up there than it did when I loaded it up here,” he said. “That boy was lucky it was so weak at the time, he could’ve been badly hurt.”


  1. Wolf Paws

    Kudos to young Preston! But I believe the bird is now under the CARE of an avian specialist. At least I hope it's not under the car!

  2. Erin Martin

    And I think the bacteria most likely looks like "cottage" cheese, not college cheese! :-0

  3. Preston Olson

    It was a cool to save a eagle

  4. Amanda Stone Murrell

    Great work, Preston. I'm so glad this story has a happy ending. (or will have when the eagle has fully recovered.)

  5. Bo Didly

    Thank you to my 11 year old hero.
    Saving the life to the cousin to our National Bird, the Bald Eagle.
    Thanks little dude. :)

  6. Nancy York

    there are some people just have a way with animals, he is a good example. Thanks for helping the bird. I will give you 10 KIDOOS.

  7. Heather Bouchie-Olson

    Your amazing son! I love you :)

  8. Marvin Archer

    Good people to contact is Tim and Janet Britt , always try to save my hearts from domestic and wild meat to give them, also lean wild meat for their work with birds of prey .. They are awesome people !

  9. Karyn Aarthun Ervin

    Tim and Janet now live in Hawaii, I believe.

  10. Marvin Archer

    They deserve to retire there, again Great People !

  11. Erin Martin

    Fixed it I see!

  12. Dan Unverzagt

    How about a career as a Zoologist / Wildlife Biologist, Preston? Maybe you found your calling….

  13. Tania Bernard-O'Neal

    this is so cool (esp. in an age when HALF the kids around would poke, prod, kill it) :) Great story!

  14. Gail Bentzinger

    Well done! Perhaps a career in animal rescue is in your future!

  15. Wendy Selnick

    You have a great soul and great instincts, Preston.. Seems you knew just what to do!!
    You have reached the attention all the way cross country in NYC! Thank you for what you did, and you are a hero, I know your folks are proud.

  16. Oriana Fisher

    way to go buddy!! you saved his life! ;)

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