An Interesting Morning...

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by chrisv, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. chrisv

    chrisv Beach Fanatic

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    Well, I was heading out to get a little fishing in this morning (was supposed to yesterday, but my 19 month old son busted his big toe on a chair,) when I noticed a large bird floating at the mouth of Mallet Bayou. At first I thought it a duck, quickly decided it must be an osprey, but as I got closer could see that it was an adult bald eagle! I could see the eagle trying to flap his wings to fly away, but he could only move one and wasn't able to move very far.

    I called a friend to get the FWC number, but the one in the phone book just rang and rang with no answer. I called Walton SO and they gave me an 800 number for FWC dispatch and wished me luck. I reported the injured bird to the FWC dispatch, and they told me that I would be called by the officer on duty. Within 5 minutes, had a call from the local officer who was up in Holmes County- I told him the situation and described the eagle. He met me at my house in 30 minutes and we took my boat back to the bird's location.

    By this time the eagle had made it to the riprap on shore, so I poled the boat up to it, and we got off and walked toward it. He made a couple of desperate attempts to fly away, but was too injured and exhausted to really go anywhere. The FWC officer and I used the push pole to pin the bird down, and toss a jacket over his head. We grabbed a branch and wrapped tape around the talons and the branch. The bird had a badly broken wing, it was just flapping and hanging. It's mate was watching our every move from a nearby tree, we kept hearing his calls. We got the eagle into the FWC officer's truck and it was taken to Calhoun County where an eagle expert lives.

    I just spoke with the FWC officer, he called to tell me that the bird was examined by a veterinarian and had 7 breaks in what equates to the forearm of the left wing. Tomorrow it will be taken to Gainesville, where hopefully it can be treated and rehabbed.

    I was told that in most of these cases, the bird cannot be re-released into the wild, that they are placed into a sanctuary of some sort to live. Maybe this one will be an exception, it was eerie knowing we were being watched by it's mate- who knows what he was thinking (I know, I know.) This eagle was a truly impressive bird, it was awe-inspiring to be so close.


    Kudos to the FWC and this officer, I was very impressed with their speed and genuine interest in helping out this injured bird.

    Guess I'll go fishing tomorrow:)
     
  2. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    That is a great story. Thanks for sharing. I used to know someone in gainesville who helped rehabilitate injured birds of prey.


    Makes you wonder how the injury happened.
     
  3. chrisv

    chrisv Beach Fanatic

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    Yeah, we decided it must have flown into a power line or something. Strange injury. As the FWC officer and I were on my boat heading to the eagle, he mentioned that he hoped it hadn't been shot at. I could tell he truly cared about his job and the wildlife he is committed to protect.
     
  4. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    That must have been very exciting and rewarding, and a bit sad. I guess when they're hunting and flying so fast it's not hard to clip a wing on a tree or the ground, or even hitting the water at the wrong angle. He surely would have died if you hadn't come along.
     
  5. BeachDreamer

    BeachDreamer Beach Fanatic

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    That's an amazing story, Chris! I'm glad you were able to find it again after making the call. It would be great if it could be released back into the wild, but even if not it will be better off with it's wing healing properly.
     
  6. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    Folks,
    People like Chris don't come around too often. So many of us tend to get so focused on our own mission ("my" fishing trip) that we forget the bigger mission of life. Sure, Chris could have opted to fish instead of spending the rest of the day helping the Eagle, but think about it. Chris will forever remember this "fishing" trip over all others. He will get those chill bumps on his arms everytime he tells this story. Because Chris put another's life (the Eagle's) before his own, he has captured a larger life experience for himself. Sometimes we are more greatly rewarded by assisting others. I think this is just God's way of rewarding those who sacrifice their own pleasures. Thanks, Chris for setting the example and sharing your experience with us.
     
  7. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter got any pics?

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    Great story Chris! :cool: Those are awesome birds :cool:
     
  8. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

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    I agree R.O. Our daughter graduated from Ga. Southern University (their mascot is the eagle) in 2000. At the end of the commencement ceremony a bald eagle flew from on end of the football stadium to the other over the graduating class. There was complete silence. Truely, an awesome sight.

    If seeing your firstborn graduate wasn't rewarding enough, this a was icing on the cake.

    Thanks ChrisV I'm glad you were there!

    Here is a link to the raptor center at GSU http://welcome.georgiasouthern.edu/wildlife/
     
  9. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter got any pics?

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    I saw, probably the same bird, at a UT Game. There only 1 or 2 of these "trained" Bald Eagles. It flew from the top deck of Neland Stadium to some guy on the 50 Yard Line while the band played the National Anthem. :shock: Still makes me get goose bumps :oops: .
     
  10. Cil

    Cil Beach Fanatic

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    What a poignant story, Chris. I am sorry about the mate left behind, but you saved the hurt eagle from a very grim ending.
    I once found a seagull that had eaten a fish hook. He didn't make it. It was pretty sad. I know it was just a gull, but nobody should die that way.
     
  11. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    True dat :blink:
     

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