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One Eagle Dies at Recovery Center

Additional bird taken to Anchorage after collision with vehicle
Article published on Tuesday, Jan 15th, 2008
Kodiak Daily Mirror Writer

Since Friday, national radio stations and newspapers have turned an eagle eye to Kodiak after what some U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials are calling the worst Kodiak bird disaster since the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Another life was claimed when an eagle died overnight Monday at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage.

“He had not been responding well and was kind of depressed,” said Marry Bethe Wright, a volunteer at the bird center. “We were monitoring him very closely. People were here all night and checking on him every couple of hours.”

BTLC volunteers continue to fight to save the rest of the eagles.

“Everyone else seems to be up and very alert,” Wright said. “The ones that have been washed are looking good.”

The final 13 eagles arrived at the BTLC Monday evening.

Alaska Airlines delivered the final batch of eagles to the center after bad weather forced the cancellation of flights out of the area all day.

Megan Pool, event coordinator for BTLC, said Monday that the center’s volunteers deserve a lot of the credit.

“We have an amazing group of volunteers here that have really pulled together and are back there washing birds,” Pool said.

The eagles were airlifted to Anchorage at the urging of International Bird Rescue Center officials in Anchorage after nearly 50 oil-covered bald eagles were discovered in the back of an uncovered Ocean Beauty Seafoods truck filled with nearly two feet of fish guts.

“As the feeding frenzy occurred, eagles were piling on top of eagles and pressing the birds down into the fish waste,” said Gary Wheeler, head of Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Center.

After they untangled the eagle mess, Wildlife officials found 18 dead eagles. Another two died Friday night.

Era Aviation, Alaska Airlines and Northern Air Cargo donated space to fly the eagles to the center and by Monday the final 17 had made the journey.

It wasn’t just the slimed eagles that went. An eagle hit by a car in Kodiak also made the trip to Anchorage.

“He actually looks better this morning, too,” Wright said. “He was taken care of (Monday). He was doing a bit of star gazing (Monday) with the head looking straight up, but he’s much more alert and looking around this morning.”

The rescue is hitting the bird center hard financially and BTLC is calling for help to offset the costs of the eagle’s treatment.

In order to effectively treat the birds, the center gives each eagle a 45- to 60-minute bath in water heated to a temperature of 105 degrees.

To warm up the birds they are keeping the bird storage house they rent from the national bird rescue center at 80 degrees.

“Right now, our water bill is going to be crazy,” Pool said.

They are also looking for donations of unprocessed fish, as it is takes more than 90 pounds of fish a day to feed the eagles.

In a press release issued by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, officials said they were willing to pay the cost of transporting the eagles to Anchorage; however, Ocean Beauty has not returned phone calls during the last two days.

To make a donation to the BTLC you can send a check or money order to Bird TLC 6132 Nielson Way, Anchorage, AK 99518. You can also call (907) 562-4850 to place a donation.

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