Third shot eagle brought to Birds of Prey

A four-month-old bald eagle that was shot in the wing won’t fly again, but will be rehabilitated as far as possible at the Center for Birds of Prey.

AWENDAW — A four-month-old bald eagle was brought in last week shot through the wing.

It’s the third bald eagle and the seventh raptor brought to the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw so far this year, said Debbie Mauney, medical clinic director. That’s more than last year and nearly as many as were brought in the entire year before.

The eagle, the national symbol, is one of the most impressive creatures in the wild, with a wingspan as wide as 8 feet and glaring eyes so sharp that if you had them, you could read a newspaper headline a mile away. Individual eagles tend to be fiery and feisty, and the species opportunistic enough that birds often haunt landfills and roadkills — as other birds back away.

When eagles were placed on the Endangered Species list 40 years ago, six of every 10 birds found dead had been shot and the species was so depleted it was all but extinct in the lower 48 states. The recovery has been as remarkable as the bird itself. More than 200 nesting pairs are now found in South Carolina alone.

It was removed from the endangered list in 2007.

But the birds still are shot, often enough that the number of injured birds brought to the Center for Birds of Prey tends to spike in the fall when yearlings and migrating species move and hunting seasons crank up. The young eagle can’t fly and can’t go back to the wild. Center staff will work with it, and hope to get it flying enough to become an educational demonstration bird, she said.

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