By Victoria Wright
Just another Wednesday afternoon here on Marco when my 9 year old son, JohnEdward, said “Mommy there is a gator in the bay.” On first glance I thought it was a manatee but then to my surprise I saw wings flapping. Action was needed quickly as I realized it was a Bald Eagle chick drowning in our bay, now a matter of life or death! Trying to stay calm I quickly called my husband Simon who grabbed a fishing net, launched our kayak into the water and went to the aid of this very wet exhausted and magnificent bird.
It was truly amazing to watch, it was as if this chick knew it was being rescued and there almost appeared to be a sigh of relief. At this point I suddenly thought the chick is safe, but what do we do with it now? I hastily called a friend who suggested we take it to the Southwest Florida Conservancy’s rescue center.
Simon had managed to bring the Chick back to dry land with the help of John Edward. We then wrapped the extremely lethargic chick, in a towel, sat it on Simon’s knee in the truck and headed to Naples. I had already called the Conservancy so they knew we were on our way. Once we arrived we were extremely impressed with their calm, caring and professional approach. They took the chick away for an evaluation and returned to report the chick was skinny and had more than a normal amount of feather mites. The bird was put on fluids and they hoped to rehabilitate it and release it. They thanked us for what we had done.
This was a truly unbelievable experience for all of us. A huge thanks to our son, John Edward who spotted this distressed chick and played such a key role in its rescue….. we are very proud parents and it just goes to show there is never a dull moment on Marco!
The Environmentalist for the City of Marco Island was asked to give an update on the eagles in the area as a number of rescues took place recently. Here’s what she had to say…
It has been a typically chaotic nesting season with several Bald Eagle rescues on the Island. Over the past couple months, one adult eagle and fledged chicks, have been rescued in canals and taken to the Conservancy Wildlife Rehab Clinic for care. The first rescue was an adult Bald Eagle that, according to witnesses, dove in the Shorecrest canal, submerged and then was unable to fly up out of the water. Struggling in the canal with the current moving out fast, the Marco Island Fire Department was called, who used a neighbor’s boat to net and secure the Bald Eagle for transport to the Rehab Clinic. This Bald Eagle was released days later in the Island Golf course area where its nest is located. The Conservancy noted that it was underweight.
The next commotion was a fledged chick rescued out of Smokehouse Bay near the Esplanade area; again in the water and unable to fly off. All chicks were accounted for on the two active nests on the Island, so the Conservancy was looking for an area to release this eaglet. It was eventually released on the Island near Tract K. On Tract K, two eaglets were observed on the site consistently, but over the past few weeks, only one has been observed.
The event mentioned in this article is the third event. The fledged chick was from the Island Golf Course nest. This nest had one eaglet, but due to the rescue of this eaglet, only the two adults have been observed now at this site. The Conservancy dually noted that this eagle had a low body weight also. They are giving it nourishment and fluids and when it is up to normal, average weight, it will be released near its home nest. It is also interesting to note, there have been three adult Bald Eagles seen flying over and perching nearby the Island Golf course nest.