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Injured eagle recovering at CROW on Sanibel

By Staff | Dec 31, 2011

The island’s largest female bald eagle, which was rescued before the holidays, remains at the CROW Wildlife Hospital on Sanibel.

Phil Buchanan, a volunteer of CROW, said Robin Bast, CROW’s Senior Wildlife Rehabilitator, told him the eagle is doing well.

“She, however, still has left wing issues and is not eating as well as she should,” he said. “She needs pain pills and rest for a while, but hopefully will be ready for release before too long.”

Neighbors of Clyde Street in Matlacha witnessed the bald eagle being attacked by at least eight ospreys on Dec. 16. They believed the attack started because of a squirrel the eagle killed.

After the eagle found shelter in a tree, it was left there over night because it was not believed to be in immediate danger.

The next morning, after many obstacles of capturing the eagle, Buchanan and a few of the neighbors were able to secure it in a box to take to CROW for tests and further observations.

It is believed the female bald eagle took up residence on the island many years ago.

“Given the unusually large size of this bird and the issues with the left wing, as well as the timing, I suspect this is the female from a long established nest in St. James City,” Buchanan said.

He helped rescue the eagle eight years ago around the same time after she was hit by a truck, which also injured her left wing.

“She rehabilitated at CROW for three months and was released in time to still fledge two young that year,” Buchanan said.

The nest that is believed to be the female’s has eggs in it again this year.

“I have been checking that nest for the last week, and sure enough, there sits one lone eagle on eggs every day scanning the skies and perhaps looking for his mate,” Buchanan said. “Just my theory, but I am inclined to believe it.”

If she catches a live mouse that CROW workers throw in the cage, that will signal she is ready to be released back into the wild.

The eagle will be released back on Pine Island when members at CROW believe she has had a full recovery.