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Birds Falling From The Sky

by Tina and Judge Wynecoop

Last January Bald eagles were witnessed falling out of the sky in an area bounded by Little Deep, Deadman (Peone), and Spring Creeks and the Little Spokane River. The first disturbing report came New Year’s Eve as the temperature was hovering at zero degrees. A sub-adult eagle was found face down in the snow at the river’s edge by the Michaelis family. Rescue and capture was difficult because the bird managed to flounder into the river and dark was falling. 

Success was measured by the bird’s rehabilitation at Ponti’s Veterinary Clinic in Otis Orchards and its release three days later. Still, this wasn’t a single event: an eagle was seen falling from the sky at the busy intersections by Wandermere Golf Course. There were three other reports during the month and then near month?s end a school bus driver saw a forlorn looking adult Bald eagle standing alongside Dartford Road. After an amazing rescue that could have only been accomplished with the help of a young man living nearby, the bird was rehabilitated and released. 

Blood samples, x-rays, checks for e-coli and poisoning, as well the clinic staff’s familiarity with injured birds in general, did not pinpoint the cause of this rash of unusual avian events. 

Will the winter of 2011/2012 include more phenomena such as these? We hope not. But, we are prepared with phone numbers and advice to share if again Bald eagles are compromised.

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