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Eagles Rescued From Fallen Nest

New photos of the nest taken this Spring BEFORE it fell , by Robert C. Main

About 8:00 pm on Saturday April 24th Moriah Gonzales noticed that the Eagle nest she regularly would observe (just west of Tulsa along the Arkansas River, across from the Sunoco Refinery) had fallen down. The Cottonwood it was in had probably been weakened by the past several days of intense storms.

Moriah called Gary and Kathy Siftar, TAS members and wildlife rehabbers from Broken Arrow. They immediately got their flashlights, went to the site and found the tree with a downed nest and two live young fledglings about two months old.  They also found a dead one that had been partially eaten by a predator. Gary contacted Steve Sherrod, executive director of the Sutton Avian Research Center (the folks who carried out the Bald Eagle restoration program in the 1980s.)  He agreed to come down and build a new nest, which happened on April 28th, with help of a number of people, including Kevin Stubbs of the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Siftars then returned the birds and they were placed on the new nest platform. Placing them here would protect them from predators, but it was not known if the parents would still return to care for their young.

This project also generated much media coverage, by radio, television and a page one article with photos in the Tulsa World.

Gary had also contacted TAS and Dave Edwards of our Eagle Committee set up a schedule for our members to monitor the nest, to be sure the young eagles remain on the nest, and to see if the parents would return and care for them. If they fell out they must be located and picked up or a predator could also get them.

The adults Eagles were soon spotted in the area, but not observed on the new nest. Some turtle shells were observed on the ground below the nest, suggesting the parent might be feeding the young eagles, but we did not know for sure. Afraid they might not be being fed, Kevin Stubbs provided some food on Sunday May 2nd. On Monday, May 3rd I (John Kennington) stopped by on my way into work and observed one of the adults on the nest, interacting with the young eagles. This had actually been the first visit I was able to make to the nest!

This was a big relief, and we felt our efforts would now likely succeed.

On Friday, May 7th, Alan Jenkins from the Sutton Center visited the site and found the young were perched on a branch about 20 feet from the platform and above it. From their position they had an unobstructed flight path to where ever they wanted to fly. In other words they had "branched" and he considered them to be fully and successfully fledged.

On Sunday, May 9th John Fisher checked on the "kids" and spotted one of the birds on a limb about 10 feet above the platform. It then flew back down to one of the limbs next to the platform. The other bird was sitting near the top of the big Cottonwood immediately to the west of the clearing.

So it appears we have a success story and have saved two Bald Eagles!


Photo by Robert C. Main of the nest taken March 14, 2004, before the nest fell.


Another by Robert C. Main of the nest taken April 3, 2004.


The nest tree is the one just to the left of the big tree in the center. The new nest platform is barely visible just above the tops of the lower trees.


The collapsed nest


The rescued nestlings


One of the parents in the area, before the new nest was put up



Getting ready to be released


The "new" nest


The young eagles checking out their new home


The two young eagles on the nest platform


Here is the first proof that the adult was going to the new nest


One of the young eagles after leaving the nest

 

 

 

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Last modified: September 21, 2009

 

 

 

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