BATTLING BALD EAGLES LAND IN TREE
February 18th, 2015
LOCALS AND WILDLIFE ENTHUSIASTS PARTNER TO SAVE LONE SURVIVOR!
by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager
On Tuesday, February 17, 2015 we got a call about a couple injured bald eagles from our colleagues with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program. They were reported hanging from a pine tree off a road in Tuckerton, NJ by some local residents. We didn’t know how long they were there, but we knew that we needed to respond quickly if a bird had a chance to survive. We arrived at the scene to find two adults that were indeed, hanging from a tree. Luckily the local residents on the scene knew someone who worked for AC Electric (he also lived on the same road the birds were off of) and had a truck with a cherry picker on it. After the cherry picker arrived I went up to free the two birds.
One eagle was alive and one had unfortunately died. The two were likely engaged in a territorial dispute and fell to where they hung on that skinny tree branch. Eagles are extremely territorial to their nest sites and even fight over food when it is scarce. Eagles also often lock feet while performing courtship displays, but this was certainly NOT a courtship display. Each had a foot that was totally locked with the other. The dead eagle had it’s “death grip” on the surviving eagle and if no one saw these birds then both would have died.
After assessing the situation I realized I needed some kind of a pole or hand saw to cut a branch to slide the dead birds leg off the branch, which would free both birds. I called down to the local residents who gathered below and asked if any had a saw. One did, so I went back down, grabbed the saw and proceeded back up to cut the branch and free the hanging eagles.
After bringing the birds down to the ground, watch as it took three grown men to pry their feet apart...
Excerpted from Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Blog
Click here for full story with exciting video and follow-up on the condition of the surviving eagle. The video is long, so wait for it to load,
Watch: Fighting New Jersey bald eagles pried from treetop death grip
Brian Donohue | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com By Brian Donohue | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
February 18, 2015 at 1:55 PM, updated February 18, 2015 at 2:55 PM
It may feel like the dead of winter to us humans, but in the animal world, spring's approach means the mating season is already underway. And sometimes, mating season also means fighting season.
A wildlife rescuer with Conserve Wildlife NJ pulled down a pair of bald eagles who had locked talons and gotten stuck in a tree in Tuckerton yesterday, but not before one of the eagles had already died from his injuries, according to a post on the organization's web site.
The surviving eagle is "alive, alert and standing" at the Mercer County Wildlife Center, according to the blog post written by Ben Wurst, a habitat program manager with Conserve Wildlife NJ who performed the treetop rescue from a hastily mustered cherry picker.
Wurst managed to capture his efforts with a video camera apparently attached to his helmet, providing a dramatic glimpse into both the world of the wildlife rescuer and a puzzling aspect of eagle behavior. He credits local residents with alerting authorities to the eagles and helping with the rescue.
"A lesson I've learned in my short career working with endangered wildlife in New Jersey is that you always need to be prepared for the unexpected," Wurst wrote. "You never know what tomorrow brings."
The non-profit CWF recently released a report showing more than 200 bald eagles were born in the state last year as the species continues its steady recovery from near elimination in the state.
For full story with video: http://blog.nj.com/ledgerupdates_impact/print.html?entry=/2015/02/watch_rescuer_pries_new_jersey_bald_eagles_from_tr.html
Brian Donohue may be reached at email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @briandonohue. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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