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Our newspaper, The Telegraph, is going to cover the Golden Eagle release
Saturday. They asked me to put together a preview article to alert our
readership, but we are only going to write a short blurb. I had already
talked to Pam Lippert, clinic supervisor at Treehouse Wildlife Center, and
she gave me the details on the bird. I have been cleared to release this
information prior to our paper publishing the story.
The bird was found two months ago in a farm field about four miles north of
Hillview in Greene County, Ill., which is north of Jersey County and east of
Calhoun County. A hunter, who lives in Smithton, Ill., south of Belleville,
drove past the field and saw it sitting on the ground and thought nothing of
it. When he drove past the second day and it was still there he tried to
approach the bird and it did not fly away. He then contacted the Illinois
Department of Natural Resources, which contacted Treehouse.
Pam said the bird is an immature and might be less than a year old. She said
it had some bruising to a wing, but no fracture. She said they assume the
bird struck a power line. They put it in a cage in the clinic for two weeks
to rest and then housed it in a outside flight cage.
The bird did not attempt to fly in its first week in the flight cage, but
flew after that.
Pam said this is only the second golden eagle they have ever received at
Treehouse and the other one was also an immature.
"Iím thinking some of these birds making their first migration get a little
messed up sometimes and thatís why they end up in this part of the country,"
Pam said.
Pam points out that golden eagles have feathers that go all the way down to
their feet, whereas bald eagles' feathers stop a couple of inches from the
talons. She said golden eagles also have a uniform white broad band on the
base of the tail and, of course, golden heads.
This particular bird, Pam said, is missing a middle tail feather and that
feature can be seen well in flight.
Hope this information helps. I plan on helping with a Christmas count
Saturday, so I won't be able to attend. Anyone else that misses the release
Saturday might keep in mind to look for an eagle with a missing middle tail
feather when they're in Calhoun County or nearby.
Later,
Shawn Clubb, Collinsville, Madison Co., IL
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