I had to go and do some work at the bird sanctuary on Sunday. It seemed the male in the second fight room has bee rubbing his wings against the rough cut lumber of the building when he flys up into the one corner of the room. He had rubbed his wrists raw on both wings.
The director had some large pieces of fabric she wanted to tack up in the corners so he did not land up there. He is flying very well and if not for the injuries he would be released soon.
I had to climb up to the second to last rung on the twenty foot ladder to reach up there to tack up the material.
I had a college student volunteer helping me measure and cut the material and then she held the ladder as I put it up. We talked as I worked and I found out she had already gotten her bachalors of arts in sculpture and stayed on to get another degree in biology. She will graduate in two weeks. I also found out she is very good friends with my friend who is getting his masters in biology right now, he will graduate in two weeks also. He already had an arts degree in jewelry and metal smithing and wanted his biology degree. Small world.
Well, we started out at the front and the male eagle spent most of the time in the corner he always favored in the back. As we moved around in the flight building, he and the juvenile female would fly back and forth to the other corners. Once we got the material on the first corner they did try to land there but could not find a way to perch so they slid off the materal and flew to the ground. The material did its job, we were happy to see the problem may have been solved.
Now here we were, working with a 20 foot ladder and large pieces of material and it would spook the birds so we had to watch them as we worked. A few times we had to duck our heads because they flew right over about a foot above us. Those talons are not just for catching fish ya know. LOL
When we got to the last corner, the male's favorite corner, I got up there and found the real reason he was injured. The builders had been sloppy and there were 12 galvinized nail points sticking through the boards of the building. 12 nail points, about a quarter of an inch of sharps points, were right where his wing would rub. Bingo, that's why he had injuries and the female didn't. It was not the rough cut hemlock, it was the sloppy nailing.
Recently, the director got a call to get an eagle a little south of us. It was in very bad shape when she captured it, it was an adult female. It died the next day. It died from lead poisoning , the amount of lead in her system was 'off the charts'. The gentleman who reported this is a hunter and conservationist and wrote the story up in our local paper about this eagle and lead poisoning soon after it happened to let local hunters know about this problem. I though it was important to bring this story to a wider audience.
Lead poisoning and birds of prey is a very large problem we must all be aware of if we hunt and fish. Many groundhog hunters will shoot the varmints and leave them in a field for the scavangers. The lead from the bullets will eventualy poison those scavangers who eat the carcass. Lead from ammunition and lead sinkers for fishing are the two big things that poison eagles. Do not leave lead anywhere in nature, especially in a varmint carcass. If you shoot a woodchuck bring it some where to dispose of it properly, bury it or burn it. If you shoot and wound an animal while hunting, take all the time to find it, do not leave a wounded animal with lead in it that will eventually die and then poison the scavangers. Do not leave lead sinkers in nature, in fact buy non lead sinkers and use them for fishing.
Be responsable for all your actions in nature. We don't need to lose anymore of it. We must always be stewards of this great land and our flora and fuana.