Bald eagle rescued
By Jane Beathard
State and local wildlife officials are puzzling the discovery of an injured bald eagle found on the north side of Interstate 70, west of the state Route 142 exit on Monday morning.
Madison County Wildlife Officer Matt Teders said a passing motorist spotted the adult bird in a brushy area adjacent to the highway and called authorities. The conscientious motorist waited at the scene, then directed Teders to the injured raptor.
Teders said the bird could turn its head and spread its wings, but couldn’t move its legs. It was feisty and alert and even attempted to take a chunk out of Teders’ gloved hand.
Teders and Donna Daniel, a raptor expert with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), transported the eagle to the Ohio Wildlife Center, a rehabilitation facility north of Columbus. Veterinarians at the center diagnosed the bird with major neurological trauma, but said on Wednesday that it was slowly regaining the use of its legs. Its sex remains undetermined.
Teders speculated a deer carcass lying along the highway piqued the eagle’s appetite. It then fell prey to a passing vehicle.
Monday’s incident was the first verified presence of a bald eagle in Madison County in years and led to additional questions about the bird’s origin and activities.
“It was pretty surprising,” Daniel said of the bird’s discovery. “We have no idea where it came from.”This is the nesting season for Ohio’s bald eagles, leading Daniel and Teders to wonder if the bird strayed from a yet-undiscovered nest on Big Darby Creek or Prairie Oaks Metro Park. Or, it might have been a wandering loner, seeking a meal of fresh fish in Big Darby waters.
If the injured eagle recovers and can be returned to the wild, Teders expects to release it in the area where it was found.
Once limited to four breeding pairs on Lake Erie, Ohio’s bald eagles are on the rebound. Nests are now found along many of the state’s major waterways where the birds enjoy quick access to fish, their favorite delicacy.
ODNR reported 36 new bald eagle nests in Ohio this year — a 10 percent increase over 2011. Last spring, 254 eaglets fledged from 194 known nests statewide. Additional nests produced no young.
Last week, the Ohio Wildlife Council removed the birds from the state’s threatened species list. Eagles remain federally protected.