Caretakers Search for Missing Bald Eagle in Vero Beach

Wildlife News

From: TCPalm - West Palm Beach,FL,USA

By Elliott Jones
Friday, February 1, 2008

VERO BEACH (Florida)  An injured bald eagle disappeared into the night west of here and wildlife officials are asking for public help in finding it.

The mature eagle, with a drooping wing, was in a front yard late Wednesday afternoon about two miles southwest of the intersection of Oslo Road and Interstate 95. Then it leaped and fluttered over a large clump of vegetation and vanished in an area of cattle pastures.

Vero Beach wildlife officer Bruce Dangerfield unsuccessfully searched for almost two hours Wednesday night, covering an area about 100 yards in either direction from where it was last seen.

Now Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, Jupiter, is asking anyone who sees the bird to call the wildlife rescue agency that currently is caring for six other injured bald eagles from throughout Florida.

Mimi Von Boross Toth first spotted the bird when she drove up to check on a house. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing," she said Thursday. "I had to do a double take. It was so close. It was hopping around."

She called her mother, who called in wildlife officials. By the time Dangerfield arrived, it had disappeared. "We look under all the palmettos and in holes. You name it, we searched everywhere," Von Boross said.

Thursday she went out with two birds dogs and still couldn't find the eagle, despite using some of the eagle's down feathers for scent.

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary official David Hitzig said the eagles in his care were injured from collisions with cars to fights between male eagles establishing their nesting territory.

"When they are staking out their territory (at this time of year) they are not always the best of neighbors," Hitzig said. "I wouldn't be able to say what happened until I had my hands on this bird."

But anyone who finds it should keep their hands off. "Eagles have powerful talons," he said "If you try to grab them, you will be sorry."

The bird was last seen Wednesday afternoon southwest of Vero Beach, about two miles southwest of Interstate 95 and Oslo Road.

          The adult eagle had a drooping left wing and was having problems flying.

          Anyone who sees the bird should call Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, Jupiter, at (561) 723-1465.

          Adult eagles have white heads and are about 3 feet long. Their wingspan is about 5 feet.

          In Florida, bald eagles are listed as a threatened species. The state has about 1,113 nesting pairs, not including migratory eagles who nest in other states.

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