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Rescued bald eagle brought back to SK

A bald eagle found injured on Beach Drive last February — seen here being held by Michael Pratt of West Sound Wildlife Shelter — was released to the same area earlier this  summer.  - File Photo
A bald eagle found injured on Beach Drive last February — seen here being held by Michael Pratt of West Sound Wildlife Shelter — was released to the same area earlier this summer.
— image credit: File Photo

An injured bald eagle that was rescued along Beach Drive earlier this year was released recently after being rehabilitated at a shelter on Bainbridge Island.

Port Orchard resident Ken Bicha, a member of the local Fraternal Order of Eagles, said his group had contributed money toward the bird’s care at the West Sound Wildlife Shelter and was notified when it was returned to Beach Drive.

“They sent us a very nice letter, which we have framed,” said Bicha, 66, explaining that while he has “no idea how much it cost to care for the eagle for four months,” his group voted and decided to donate $100.

“We felt like if anybody is going to help an eagle, it would be the Eagles,” he said, recalling that his group read about the bird’s plight in the newspaper. “We’ve never had an opportunity like this before, so we decided to help.”

The eagle was rescued in February on the 2900 block of Beach Drive after Manchester resident Keith Morris saw the bird struggling in a ditch with a limp wing.

Michael Pratt, director of wildlife services for the shelter, responded and collected the injured bird.

First suspecting the bird might have broken its wing, he later determined there were no breaks.

Bicha described the bird’s injuries as “severe bruising, puncture wounds, abrasions and lacerations.”

Pratt said this week the eagle was actually released June 1, after receiving stitches and countless rats and fishes.

“I’d say it cost at least $10 a day to feed him,” he said.

And while the food bill alone could have easily reached $1,000 during the bird’s stay at the shelter, Pratt said that is not including any of the medical costs.

“Luckily, a lot of the services, like X-rays, the vets we use donate,” he said.

Pratt said the bird rescued on Beach Drive — it was not named, only given a number — lingered on the beach for a while after his release, but eventually took flight.

“And he had a beautiful flight when he took off,” said Pratt, adding that the bird was soon greeted, and encouraged to move on, by other eagles nearby, however. “I know there are at least three nests in that area, so it is pretty congested. And they are territorial.”

Pratt said 2008 has been a “huge year for eagles” at his shelter.

“We haven’t had so many eagles before,” he said, surmising that the influx at the shelter was due to an increase of birds in the wild that was likely fighting over food and space.

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