Jane Sproull Thomson
Special to Black Press
If eagles could talk, this one might say…
Whew, I’m a lucky bird! Living the life of Riley here at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) Wildlife Rescue, where I get as much fish and chicken as I can swallow – but it wasn’t always this way. Life is hard for eagles. My trouble began early when my dad was electrocuted as he landed on a hydro pole. After that mom had trouble finding enough food for two growing eaglets, especially since she was feeling weak and dizzy after eating some deer meat poisoned with lead shot.
One day I was so hungry I hopped up to see where she was and fell off the edge of the nest. As I hit the ground, a dog came after me. Lucky for me its owner was with it and stopped it from de-feathering me. If I hadn’t been so stunned, he’d never have been able to get that blanket over me without feeling my beak and talons! But what seemed like a disaster turned out to be the best day because he knew to take me to MARS.
At the hospital they weighed me and realized I was half-starved. After they fed me (like a baby!) they put me in a pen with some other eagles. They say I will be released as soon as I can fly and there’s enough food out there.
So, it looks like I’ll soon be free. Eagles should all be so lucky! But hey - just a reminder to keep those pets under control.
WHAT THE EAGLET DOESN’T KNOW…
All that food and medical care is expensive. Over 75 per cent of the native wildlife that make it to care were injured or affected by human activities, so MARS’s mission is to conserve and protect native animals and their natural habitat through education and rehabilitation.
Apart from traumatic injuries, many adult and young eagles also come into MARS’s hospital suffering from lead poisoning. Those that survive the initial poisoning must go through ‘chelation therapy’ – some more than once – to flush the toxins from their systems. Eleven eagles were given chelation therapy over the past year and three are currently undergoing a third round. Each round of the therapy costs $125.
At the MARS Visitor Centre, several recovering adult and young eagles are now well enough to be outdoors with our Ambassador Birds and welcome visitors. The Visitor Centre is open Thursday through Sunday and all holiday Mondays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For more stories, some great photos and videos as well as general information, or to make a donation, visit our website at https://www.marswildliferescue.com/
A reminder that it’s nesting time for many of our small birds, so no more hedge-pruning until autumn, please: MARS carers are busy enough!