Audubon Center for Birds of Prey was able to reunite an eagle family today. This adult male Bald Eagle was rescued on February 21 near his nest in Winter Haven. This nest is currently being monitored by Aududubon EagleWatch; he and his mate had two eight week old chicks in the nest at the time of his rescue.
Per EagleWatch County Coordinator Reinier Mungia, the homeowner where the nest is located called him to say that something was not right with the bird. When Reinier arrived, the eagle was sitting on the shore of the lake behind the nest and then flew low out of the water and fell in to the lake and swam to shore where Reinier was able to rescue him. They suspect his injuries were from collision with a low-flying seaplane that often flies low over this nest.
After evaluation at the Center’s Raptor Trauma Clinic, injuries included spinal trauma, leg paralysis, internal trauma, retinal trauma to both eyes, internal parasites and gout. He received physical therapy for the leg paralysis and spinal trauma as well as additional medications to treat the other conditions. After one month in the Clinic, his medical issues had been resolved and he had regained use of his leg and was standing on his own so was moved to the Center’s 100 ft flight barn for reconditioning. After two weeks in the flight barn he was flying strong and ready for release.
Angela Bowman, with SeaWorld Orlando released the bird. Angela, a current Advisory Board member with the Center for Birds of Prey has been volunteering her time and talent to Audubon since 2008.
Angela states, “Volunteering my time at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey for the past 11 years has given me the opportunity to work directly with a variety of amazing birds as they are cared for and rehabilitated. Participating in this eagle’s return to the wild was an incredible opportunity and a testament to the hard work of so many. I am proud of SeaWorld’s partnership with the Center and honored to be a part of the mission to save and protect Florida’s birds of prey.”
Katie Warner, Center Director, states “We appreciate the long-standing support and partnership from SeaWorld Orlando and the Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. Support for our Bald Eagle rescue and rehabilitation programs has led to the successful treatment and release of hundreds of Bald Eagles in Florida.”
After his release the homeowner shared that the young are flying now but the family is still hanging out at the nest. Audubon is working with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to educate the seaplane base owners about the federal regulations that restrict aircraft (including drones) from being flown within 1000 vertical feet of a nest.