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Well, I am bumming here. :(

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freethought Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-06-10 09:59 PM
Original message
Well, I am bumming here. :(
Some months ago I moved down to N. Carolina, to the Charlotte area. I'm employed only part-time so to fill some of the days I have off
I started volunteering at the Carolina Raptor Center, a place where injured birds of prey are given veterinary care, rehabilitation,
and if all goes well, re-release. If they are so injured that they can no longer fly or fend for themselves the birds are kept at the center. They have an impressive collection of resident raptors. Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Red-Tailed hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Broad-winged hawks, Harris Hawks, Barn Owls, Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, and a few vultures. Get this! Not long ago a U.S. Customs raid found 1 African Marshal Eagle, and two Bateleur Eagles. One Bateleur eagle escaped and has not been seen since. The Marshal eagle is truly and impressive sight. Right now, the birds are evidence but the center is hoping U.S. Customs will, in time, give them the birds. For whatever reason, the birds cannot return to Africa. Just days ago, the center was donated two Eurasian Eagle Owls, bigger than a Great Horned owl but with more attitude.

I have a few personal favorites. "Ronnie" is a Ferruginous Hawk from out west. I like him because he is truly a beautiful bird. White, with blueish gray and a rusty-brown back. Then there is "Honeysuckle", an aging female Red-Tailed Hawk. Honeysuckle is leucistic, meaning she has lost the ability to generate pigments that would giver her the regular red-tail coloration. She was normal once, but at one point started showing white plumage and more with each molt. Eventually she became entirely white. Then there is "Omar" a Barred Owl that came to the center nearly twenty years ago. Omar is very "habituated" to people and is very approachable. I tend to get mixed reactions from Omar, sometimes he starts hooting when I'm in his pen, other times I get totally ignored.

Anyway, my car died last week, and I mean died for good! I'm on public trans for the time being. Unfortunately I don't have any way to get to the Raptor Center. There is no public trans that even comes close to the place. The coordinator there is seeing if a carpool of somekind could be arranged. I would really hate to stop volunteering there because it's a great place and it sort of "feeds my soul" if some of you fellow DUers can relate. Anyway, I have become pretty good at recognizing Red-Shouldered hawks by their sound. And I have spotted Cooper's Hawks taking the occasional mouse that lingers in the open too long.

I guess I just needed to vent a little. Happy Birding!!

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semillama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-10 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for your volunteer work!
By any chance, was the escape of the Bateleur Eagle reported to the North Carolina birding listserve?
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freethought Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-10 07:00 PM
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2. I honestly don't know
My personal opinion is that the eagle is likely dead. The bird was one of two confiscated in a U.S. Customs raid, along with a very big and nervous Marshal Eagle. The bird escaped many weeks ago. The center put out word in the local media that the bird had gotten loose. Some of the facility's experienced handlers believed that despite the fact the bird had broken free, it was not likely to go very far. It was hoped that somebody would spot it, and the handlers could tempt it with food to capture it. However, there was not a single phone call received by anyone claiming to have seen the bird.

Bateleurs are not big eagles, Balds Eagles and Golden eagles are nearly twice their size. For the most part they are almost all black. To truly notice some the distinctive features of a Bateleur, you would have to get a good look and have time to give it a good once over. From a distance someone may easily confuse a Bateleur for a turkey vulture,and its profile is almost the same as some the larger red-tails that frequent the area.

In the days after it's escape, North Carolina had a few serious cold snaps. I'm originally from New England, and even by my standards for cold, these cold snaps were pretty far down in the "buuuurrrrr" category. I don't think it's likely the bird would have lived through those.

It's kind of sad. From what I am told the bird was quite calm, and handled well when "on the glove", as some of the more experienced bird handlers describe it. I was told the eagle was in the weathering area to guage how it reacted to being exposed to the public presence. Then, something, or someone, spooked the bird and it was able to snap its jesses, the leather straps that secure the bird to a stand or glove. There has been no sign of it since.
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