East Texas Naturalist Blog

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Freedom Rising?

Freedom Rising?

A few weeks ago, Beverly reported that Freedom had stopped eating, even though she was feeding her daily by hand. She finally determined that she might be depressed, and was able to move some other birds around and get her to a flight cage that let sunlight in.  (Can you even imagine having seventy some-odd injured, sick, and healing birds to look after, and the effort involved in keeping them all situated, fed, and comfortable?  I cannot.) Long story short, she was able to move Freedom; gradually her depression seems to have lifted, and her appetite has improved. Beverly says it's a good sign that she has enough spunk to bite her hand now! 

This is not an uncommon situation for birds with Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy (AVM).  Freedom is far from being out of the woods and back to the wild, but there is hope that eventually she can shake this. Beverly related that she has a mature eagle in her care currently with AVM, and a few weeks back, it was if a switch had been turned and those scrambled neuronal circuits reconnected.  This condition is unpredictable, at best. 

Many thanks to Beverly for the valuable work that she does.  We hope to be able to visit her facility in the coming months, and in the meantime she has sent the best photo she could get of Freedom.  We know there is not a lot of time in her day for photo opps, so we appreciate this, too!

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Rainy Winter Day But the Birds Didn't Care

Rainy Winter Day But the Birds Didn't Care
BonapartsGull012117 3
CommonLoon012117 1
GoldenEyeDuck012117 1
GreatBlueHeron012117 1
HerringGull012117 1
Pelicans012117 6
RingbilledGull012117 1
SongSparrow012117 2
WhitePelicanFlyby012117 2
BaldEagleOnTheNEstl012117 1

The weatherman was wrong again. It was supposed to be over 70 degrees and lots of sunshine for at least most of the day. Well, the sun was out for a bit but then the clouds blew in. We didn't get anywhere near 70 degrees. Luckily the birds didn't care.  

Kristi Thomas and I, accompanied by fellow naturalist, Mickie Moore, and nine other who were mostly members of the Tyler Audubon Group, hit Lake O' the Pines on a pontoon boat. While these birding trips are always geared towards finding as many species of birds as we can, some of us were more interested in the Bald Eagle's nest and what was going on there. Of course, all the other birding was always fun and this was an exceptional day. Not only did we see over 30 species, it seemed that many didn't mind posing for us. 

Here are some of the photographs that I took today. 

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If I Move - Will the Birds Follow Me?

If I Move - Will the Birds Follow Me?
Red breastedMerganser11 27 16 2
AmericanCoot111116 2
ChippingSparrowPair122616 1
EasternBluebird11 2916 3
PiedBilledGrebe103116 3
PineWarbler11 28 16 2
RingBilledGull120216 1
WhiteBreastedNuthatch11 2916 1

I recently moved my RV from a fairly good nature spot on Lake O' the Pines. I was near the northwest end of the lake and was on the edge of a remote wooded area. In addition, across the highway was another large wooded area. On my lot, I had a pretty good bird turnout year-round. Much of that due to my 9 feeders and lots of other food items that I put out for birds.

Surprisingly enough, it was not that great for waterbirds. Well, not for ducks anyway. There were Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, an occasional Green Heron, White Pelicans during the winter, Cormorants, and Common Coots. Rarely did I see ducks of any kind, other than the Coots. Common Loons which are very common on other parts of Lake O' the Pines were never seen in this more shallow and weedy end, nor were any of the other shore birds that show up on the south end of the lake.

In the late summer, I moved just eight miles away to Lone Star Lake (Ellison Creek Reservoir). This RV park is in a more populated area. There are no woods aound this lake. The park is surrounded by houses, as is almost all of the lake. There is a little bit of a more primitive area at the north end of the lake but it is fairly small.

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Update on Freedom . . . Slow Going

So much to do this holiday season that it's been hard to find extra time, and the same goes for Beverly Grage with Wild and Free Again.  She messaged this week that Freedom is not improving as quickly as she would like, but that this is not at all unusual for a bird with suspected Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy (AVM). 

AVM is a newly discovered disease that was first identifed in the field in 1994 when dead bald eagles were found near DeGray Lake in Arkansas. It's been confirmed that Freedom suffered a shoulder fracture that had already remodeled by the time she was rescued, but Beverly suspects that this injury occurred because of the neurological damage inflicted by AVM.  

Suspected to be caused by a cyanobacterium that attaches to an invasive species of hydrilla, AVM is in many cases fatal.  Beverly has had her hands full with an influx of other critical care birds, but promises to send photos and and updates as she can.  Can you even imagine caring for over seventy injured birds in these freezing temperatures?  Many thanks to Beverly for attempting to rehab these creatures that cannot help themselves, and we hope to be able to help her continue this mission in the new year!  

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Hey, Eagles! How Can I Take Your Picture if You Keep Flying Off the Nest? **A Rerun from 2015**

Hey, Eagles! How Can I Take Your Picture if You Keep Flying Off the Nest? **A Rerun from 2015**

We put these guidelines out last year after so much interest in the eagle's nest and reports of other nests in the area. 

It is critical that if you find a Bald Eagle's nest (or any bird nest actually), that you follow these guidelines. Bald Eagles and most birds are VERY sensitive to activity around their nests. If you bother them, they may fly away and MAY NOT BREED THAT YEAR.  If there are eggs in the nest they may abandon them; they may even abandon young birds. 

PLEASE READ THESE GUIDELINES and if you find a nest, make sure that you follow the information that is written here. I will add a PLEASE to that. Please let the birds breed, nest and raise their young in peace.  You can observe, but read the information below so you know what you should and should not do. Again - PLEASE.  

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