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 […]

An Amazing CBC (Christmas Bird Count) Adventure Story

by Jeanne Dammarell On first sight, it looked like a brown plastic bag snagged on a low branch hanging over the Little Spokane River. The branch was encrusted in icicles and the river repeatedly grabbed and released the branch, causing a severe bobbing motion. Our CBC team strained to look through the gloomy light to see more clearly. “I think it’s a bird caught on the branch,” said Gary Kuiper. Rachel Brabeck and I turned to examine his find. It was such an improbable site for a bird to choose for a perch. Binoculars confirmed that we were looking at a Western Screech Owl perched inches above the river on a branch that bobbed up and down incessantly. We strained to see well enough to determine why it might choose to sit there and could see nothing. We went back for my camera and shot off a few photos, hoping that the big lens would pick up details we were missing, and then resumed the Count work. As we worked through the day, the conversation would return to the owl and possible explanations for the bizarre perch. That night I downloaded the photos into the computer and felt sick. Even […]