East Texas Naturalist Blog

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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**

EaglesNestingRules

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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The Latest from the Nest

Eagle on Nest

Lots of news this week. . . Beverly Grage of Wild and Free Again took injured young female Freedom to the vet, and learned that she had a right shoulder fracture that has already remodeled on its own.  She will be requiring long-term care.  Meanwhile, we checked the nest site one day during the week, and were encouraged to see a parent peering down as if to signal that it's getting to be that time of year again.  More to come!  

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Eagle Update - Freedom is Continuing to Improve!

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We've been posting updates on Freedom's progress to the Bald Eagles on Lake O' the Pines Facebook page, but should also let eveyone know the good news here.  As of yesterday, Beverly Grage at Wild and Free Again says that she is optimistic about this eagle!   

When she was taken to her, she was emaciated and had trouble standing.  She wanted to put her head down in the small carrier that she was transported in, but would readily take food.  Apparently the fluids, feedings, and care and attention from Beverly have paid off, though, and on Tuesday evening 11/8, she was standing better on both feet and looking alert.  Beverly reported even more progress yesterday evening. . . see for yourselves! 

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Michael Mathews
That's a big change and great news. Looking forward to when we can take her back out and release her.
Thursday, 10 November 2016 09:09
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Eagle Sightings of the Past Month on Lake O' the Pines

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It's a good problem to have, really. . . so many eagle photos from the past month that it's hard to choose what to post. I'm realizing this while going through the time-consuming process of culling and sorting, so I'll grab a few of the better ones for this update, and just roll with it.   

The good news is that the nest on Watts Island is intact and actually in an even better position for viewing.  The high water levels of the past few months have caused more erosion, and several of the tall pines have fallen from all the stress, but a few weeks ago we were happy to see two mature birds - the parents, we suspect - close to the nest one evening. 

Another day, in an old dead snag adjacent to the nest and across the channel at Johnson's Creek, we saw an immature eagle that looked to be first year.  As we approached, he/she flew and landed in another dead tree, where a more mature bird sat in the top.  (Kind of reminded me of hanging out with upper classmen.)  The older bird had the telltale beginnings of a white head, which would indicate that she/he has more years than the other, with its mottled brown coloration and no sign of white on the head.  As those feathers on both the head and tail come in they almost look dirty, but ultimately transition to that blazing white that is just so distinctive.  

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Michael Mathews
I love eagle season and it is so good to see the pictures and to hear that so many are around right now. I will be visiting Lakesi... Read More
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 09:12
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