Sunday, March 16, 2008

THE PLIGHT OF THE EAGLES

I am a big Bald Eagle fan. I love them! I think they are one of God's most marvelous
creations. It is a real treat to live in an area where they are so abundant--they are
literally on every corner.
A gorgeous, healthy Bald Eagle.


It is so heart wrenching this year to watch what has happened to these beautiful birds.
These last two winters have been horrible for the eagles because of the deep snow
cover and colder than normal temperatures. The deer population is way below normal
because of the winter kill; far enough down that the hunting season was cut short to
save what was left.

As a result there are no carcasses for the eagles to feed on and they are starving to
death. They are so skinny! And their feathers are very dirty because when they are
malnourished they don't have the oil on their feathers like normal and they can't
shed the water (and snow) like they normally would. This compounds the problem
and some of them are so weak they are dying.

Now for the good news! The people in this town really care for the eagles and we
have seen many, many generous souls feeding them meat and fish. The grocery
store has been throwing their meat cut offs outside instead of in the trash. It is 
an amazing thing to see, these wild, fabulous, HUGE predator birds landing right 
by you to pick up the meat you have thrown down. They are so hungry they will 
even stay right there and eat it while you watch. We do have a rehab center in 
town called The Raptor Center that takes them in and rehabilitates them.

The following are pictures and text by Tim Shobe here in town. He is a 
talented photographer and agreed to let me post his photos and story 
about saving two eagles last week. High five to Tim for taking the time
to save the eagles! Click the photos to make them larger...

Today’s experience was a unique one to say the least.

Two things about eagles:
1. Eagles don’t swim
2. Eagles don’t let people get close to them.

…except for today. While approaching the harbor in the boat, I saw literally ‘hundreds’
of eagles all around. You can see them on the masts and pylons in the first picture. The
herring have been showing up as they do at this time of year and the food chain follows
the feed…so sea life and birds are abundant at this time.

What amazed me was seeing an eagle swimming next to the dock and was having a
very difficult time trying to climb out of water to safety. My initial reaction was to
notify the Raptor Center so they could send someone out to the spot to help rescue
the eagle, but then I realized that the eagle was in too much danger to risk whatever
time it would take for help to arrive. There were also about 6 sea lions in the water
and they were acting aggressive.

I decided to lower the gate on the bow of the boat to see if I could get the eagle to
either climb aboard the boat or to use it to help me get him onto the dock. The eagle
was swimming all around and getting very tired.



That’s about the time that I saw the person that I was to meet up with and I drove
over to pick him (not pictured) up so that he could help me to help the eagle. His
name is Ken and he had a pallet to use to get the eagle out of the water. We positioned
the boat several times to get the eagle into the right spot so that we could hand over
the pallet to this man on the dock so he could assist us…and he did as you can see.





The next eagle to be saved was done so in a different manner. Ken was aboard the
boat with me and I drove over to where the bird was swimming. We managed to get
him to climb onto the pallet and we taxied him over to the dock.





Once onto the dock, he just sat there shivering. We were able to get him to move away from the
water’s edge so the sea lions would not harm him.




***The herring are due to arrive any time and the eagles will all be feasting on them, along
with the sea otters, sea lions, whales, etc. The next eagle post will be closeups from our own
eagle feeding adventure. My brother and sister took the pictures while I threw the meat!


6 comments:

Laura ~Peach~ said...

WOW WOW WOW I am so amazed... What a wonderful thing the community is doing I would be buying meat to feed them but like my dear hubby says NOTHING is going to go hungry around me! I have only ever seen one eagle ... they are so rare around here. Love the photos and cant wait to see more!
Awesome!
Laura

Laura ~Peach~ said...

Ohhhh Elea you have inspired us... I am going to morrow to check into a local Tae kwon do class for us!
Smiles!
Laura

Pam said...

Kris, I bow to your adventures. These pictures were really neat, I am glad your friend let you share them. Looking forward to your eagle shots.

OH! I almost forgot! Oh The Boy's insistence, we went to a Thrift Shop and looked for Head Vases! Didn't find any, but it was cute seeing HIM get so excited looking! It's become a treasure hunt I think in his mind now! Kind of funny huh?!

LadiesoftheHouse said...

Laura--I think everyone around cleaned out their freezers for the eagles this winter. We fed them salmon and halibut.

Pam--that's pretty neat your son is an official head hunter! You know, of course that if he finds something really good he will be a wealthy boy. Tell him I'm rooting for him!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

I am sure that the eagles loved all that the community did and is doing for them...Its wonderful when everyone pulls together to help:-) I have heard that seeing the herring bubbeling the water is amazing and the animals feeding on them too. closest thing to that I have ever seen or will see is the Shad here on the lake. its impressive but I am sure nowhere near the scale that you have there~ I can't wait to see the pictures!
Laura

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

This was fascinating.I don't remember how I found you but it must have been through Peach. If a child had to do a report on Eagles it would be neat if he/she could find your blog.