Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter takes it's toll

We enjoy watching eagles in the winter. There are lots of these guys around: 600 breeding pairs on the island says the Internet. And that leaves out all those juveniles we see around town, looking for their winter meals.

But, winter is stressful on our animals. Last week the newspaper reported that a kayaker found 3 dead eagles on an island right here in Kodiak's St Herman harbor! Another was struck by a car, and a fifth one was electrocuted. All in one week!

In January another one was electrocuted in downtown Kodiak...and that was a famous eagle. The oldest bald eagle on record in Alaska: 25 years old. It survived the Exxon Valdez oil spill effect in Kodiak.

Seems like a lot die. Last year we lost about 33. We might be seeing more, but that is because people are learning to report them when they find them.

If they are dead, Fish & Game ships them frozen to Denver, where they store them and distribute them to natives for religious ceremonies. As common citizens, we are not supposed to even touch them. Leave them as they are and let F & G pick them up. Those are the rules.

And if you find a weak and injured one, don't try to help it. They are quite dangerous to approach, even if they look weak to you. When laying on their back they are particularly menacing: their claws are then in perfect position to tear you face and chest. Beware! We know people who have seen those hurt by such animals.

Any way, if F & G gets a sick one, they send it to rehab off in Anchorage. That is where the one on the small picture on the left went, less than a week after I took it's picture.

To read the article about the resent lost ones, copy and paste this address on your browser:

Anyway, here's one juvenile sitting on a broken pier. See the wind lifting his head feathers? The white head is starting to show under the brown juvenile feathers. His body is as wide as a telephone post! I think their feathers are more "fluffy", making them look wider and bigger than the adults.

But it still looked cold. 20 degrees and over 20 mph winds. Not moving, just conserving energy.
Don't worry. He's young. He'll make it.

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