A Sad Anniversary

How sadly ironic it is that I heard the news today of one of the Decorah, Iowa 2012 eaglets being found lifeless at the base of a power pole. It had been electrocuted. Our thoughts are with all of those following that Bald Eagle family. All of the Eastwood Eagle Watchers group know how attached you can become to these amazing creatures and we know all too well how upsetting a terrible event like this can be.

It was one year ago today that the Dayton eaglet dubbed “Spirit” had a disastrous encounter with a wooden utility pole. For several hours on Independence Day, 2011, its sibling, Pride, was observed perched atop that very pole but the young Spirit had not been seen. When the injured eaglet was found late that afternoon, our group stood guard over the 90 day old bird as we waited for the local Raptor Center to arrive. There are coyotes and foxes in the area and the exhausted and dehydrated eaglet was in no condition to defend itself. Spirit was eventually taken to a veterinarian in Akron some 10 days later where it was discovered during surgery that the impact of striking the pole, or possibly the ground, had severely crushed the young male eaglet’s right ribcage. The damage was irreparable. Spirit was only 100 days old when he was euthanized.

As I think about both lost eaglets this evening, I realize anew how wildly uncertain life in the wild can be. These young birds of prey have so much yet to learn and so many skills to master. One mistake can prove fatal. We have succeeded in having devices installed on many of the utility poles within our eagles domain to discourage the eaglets from landing on them and those devices seem to be working. We have had only a single report of one of our trio of 2012 eaglets perching atop a pole. Although the threat of clipping a wire with a wing and the possibility of electrocution still exists, making the poles less attractive has diminished those threats somewhat. But there are dozens of other threats out there and life is so fragile. The odds of a juvenile Bald Eagle surviving its first year are improving but so many still do not reach their first birthday. All of this serves to make me realize one additional fact. It is truly a precious and rare privilege to be able to experience the thrill of seeing a wild Bald Eagle.

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Published in: on July 4, 2012 at 3:25 am  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank you very much for all your kind words. This accident has encouraged many people to contact their utility company to install the necessary guards to prevent this type of accident. Like you said it’s not foolproof and the chances of hitting two wires at the same time are still there.


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