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Bald Eagle Saved After Hard Life

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PROVO, UT -

A bald eagle found in Utah County may be the first to beat the West Nile Virus.

"He had the West Nile Virus. He was found in Saratoga Springs. And the gentleman that brought him to us, he had him in a laundry basket, so you knew he was weak," said Patti Richards, the Executive Director of the Great Basin Wildlife Rescue.

"Mike" the bald eagle, has become the longest to live in Utah County after being diagnosed with West Nile earlier this winter.

Wildlife workers hope he will become the first to beat the disease.

Life hasn't been easy for Mike. A rare birth defect left him without air holes in his beak. He also has deformed talons.

"We figure he's about four or five years old and how he survived that long without being able to hunt, because they need those rear talons to be able to catch fish and things like that, but also we noticed that he has a huge callus on his knee and so he must have spent a lot of time on the ground that way," said Richards.

Veterinarians can't fix his talons, but they can help him to breathe better.

"It's been breathing through its mouth and self-created an airway around the eye. Basically, in the hopes that this bird is going to recover and in order to breathe better, we…tried to create a new nasal opening," said Veterinarian Dr. Von Park.

Dr. Von Park said the surgery went well.

"He will be able to breathe a whole lot better and get a lot better air circulation and just fly better and live a better life," Dr. Von Park said.

There is a chance the new airway could close, but Dr. Park says they'll try again if that happens.

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