Injured Bald Eagle Will Soar Again

Judy Kramer
Enterprise Staff
Strong winds during the first week of May blew an eagle’s nest out of a large sycamore tree near the softball field at Bledsoe Ferry Sports Complex. Two eaglets in the nest died, but a third survived with a broken leg. Missouri Conservation Agent  Jake Strozewski, sent the eaglet to Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield for medical treatment, and it was recently returned to the local area in good condition.
“The eaglet is fine, and was released near the Truman Lake Dam on July 10, where we are continuing to monitor it,” said Strozewski. “It was about a month old when its nest fell, and it is now fledged and able to fly and hunt on its own.”
Strozewski said that the three eaglets were very large when their nest crashed – about the size of meat chickens.  He said they had been well fed as was evidenced by the skeletons of turtles, mammals and fish in their nest.
“I believe that there are about 10 eagle’s nests in the county, most along the Lake of the Ozarks and at Deer Creek and Cole Camp Creek,” said Strozewski. “It was kind of unusual for the nest of the rescued eaglet to be located near so much human activity that was taking place on the softball field and nearby Saltbox Primitive Woolens on the Dam Access Road. People could see the nest and were taking things to the nesting area.”
Strozewski said that eaglets are usually born in early spring and become fledged in mid to late summer. Even though they can fly on their own at that time, they still hang around their nest, but at the same time are being kicked out. He said that more and more eagle nests are appearing every year and are considered normal. That is a great improvement from 1963 when the bald eagle population was reduced to only 487 nesting pairs nationwide (according to Missouri Conservationist Magazine, December 2016.) Habitat loss and degradation, illegal shooting, and pesticide poisoning were to blame. In 1972, the federal government banned the use of DDT and in 1978 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the bald eagle as endangered.
From 1981 to 1990, the Missouri Department of Conservation, in cooperation with USFWS and the Dickerson Park Zoo released 74 young bald eagles in Missouri to reestablish them as nesters. As a result, the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in 2007. However, the bald eagle still faces threats from intentional shooting, lead poisoning, collision with vehicles and power lines, and habitat degradation continues to be a key threat to their survival.
Benton County conservation agents not only help protect the local eagle population, but enforce hunting and fishing laws and monitor the daily limit on fish, deer, quail, turkey and other game animals. They also deal with animals that have no season.
When asked about the laws regarding raptures, Strozewski said that it is illegal to possess the animal or any part of it without a permit to take or catch it. However, it is fine to pick up turkey feathers and shed antlers that are found on the ground after natural loss.
“If you see an injured hawk or eagle, don’t pick it up, but call a local conservation agent in Clinton or at the Lost Valley Fish Hatchery,” said Strozewski. “A lot of times birds appear on the side of the road, but are not hurt. They are only hunting. And if they don’t move when approached, they may be digesting a large amount of food. Many owls and hawks are visible on the road near open areas in Windsor and Ionia.”
Another contact for reporting injured, killed or dead bald eagles, is the Missouri Department of Conservation Central Office at 573-522-4115, ext. 3198.