In­ju­red e­agle pro­gres­sing well

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - News - Lin­da S­parg

The in­ju­red mar­ti­al e­agle, broug­ht to the Har­ten­bos A­ni­mal Hos­pi­tal a­bout two weeks ago, is pro­gres­sing sa­tis­fac­to­ri­ly.

The Mos­sel Bay Ad­ver­ti­ser pu­blis­hed an ar­ti­cle a­bout the e­agle on F­ri­day, 26 Oc­to­ber.

Mar­ti­al e­ag­les, found o­ver a sub­stan­ti­al secti­on of A­fri­ca and South A­fri­ca, are en­dan­ge­red. It is be­lie­ved on­ly 10 in the wild ha­ve been tag­ged.

The ju­ve­ni­le e­agle at the a­ni­mal hos­pi­tal, a­ged a­bout a y­e­ar, flew in­to e­lec­tri­ci­ty li­nes and has a burnt wing. It was found by a far­mer in the Ka­non a­rea, west of Mos­sel Bay.

Dr De Graaff of the a­ni­mal hos­pi­tal es­ti­ma­tes the e­agle will be in his ca­re for a­not­her month be­fo­re it will be trans­fer­red to a rap­tor cen­t­re.

The in­ju­red wing is bandaged. Dr De Graaff is the vet in Mos­sel Bay who hand­les and tre­ats most of the in­ju­red bi­rds found in the a­rea. Mar­ti­al e­ag­les can li­ve to a­bout 50 y­e­ars. They re­ach ma­tu­ri­ty at a­bout six y­e­ars. The ju­ve­ni­le bi­rd is pa­le com­pa­red with a­dult bi­rds. The bi­rds be­co­me bro­w­ner and dar­ker as they age.

Mar­ti­al e­ag­les ha­ve re­la­ti­ve­ly short bo­dies. Their tails are short, but their wing­span can re­ach up to 265cm. Most of the bi­rds ha­ve wing­spans of a­bout 205cm.

Mar­ti­al e­ag­les ha­ve lar­ge ey­es and ey­e­sig­ht three ti­mes bet­ter than hu­mans. They ha­ve a mem­bra­ne which mo­ves a­cross the eye ho­ri­zon­tal­ly to lu­bri­ca­te the eye. "It's a thi­rd ey­e­lid," Dr De Graaff says. The mem­bra­ne is a pa­le blue co­lour.

The Mos­sel Bay Ad­ver­ti­ser con­tacted Ra­di­cal Rap­tors, a cen­t­re for bi­rd re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on ne­ar P­let­ten­berg Bay and as­ked fal­co­ner Den­nis Rob­son for com­ment.

Rob­son was as­ked par­ti­cu­lar­ly why the e­agle did not ra­ke at Dr De Graaff with its claws or peck him.

Mar­ti­al e­ag­les so­meti­mes fly at a­dult mam­mals, mai­ming them, so they can kill their off­spring.

Their prey in­clu­des wild cats, jackals, rep­ti­les, small an­te­lo­pe and ro­dents such as ha­res and the rock hy­rax (das­sie). Rob­son said: "It can de­pend on the skill of the hand­ler, w­het­her the bi­rd at­tacks or not. Al­so, it de­pends on the sta­te of the bi­rd. I ha­ve pic­ked up a bi­rd wit­hout glo­ves, with no pro­blems.

You ha­ve to be ca­re­ful. I've hand­led a cro­w­ned e­agle be­fo­re, but it was in a des­pe­ra­te sta­te: star­ving, we­ak and al­most de­ad. I fed it and tre­a­ted it. It lost its fe­ar of me, so did not at­tack me.

"It's so hard hel­ping bi­rds of prey. You should see the scars on my arms. I­de­al­ly a bi­rd should be re­ha­bi­li­ta­ted as soon as pos­si­ble.

So­me bi­rds need pro­per fal­con­ry trai­ning du­ring re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on."

Rob­son said it was u­su­al­ly not a pro­blem that in­ju­red bi­rds had been hand­led by hu­mans; they a­dap­ted and be­ca­me wild a­gain quick­ly, so their sa­fe­ty was not com­pro­mi­sed. Ad­di­ti­o­nal sour­ce: https:// en.wi­ki­pe­dia.org/wi­ki/Mar­ti­al_e­agle

P­ho­to: Lin­da S­parg

The bi­rd has po­wer­ful legs and lar­ge feet.

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