Birds Impaled By Sticks

Below is actually a repost of a blog post made back on September 25, 2006 (holy cow, how is my blog that old). I wanted to link to it on the Facebook page but because it's on the old blogger platform and it's not letting me grab just that particular blog entry. Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 2.53.31 PM

I'm reposting it because there's a news story of a young bald eagle that got caught in a tree because it was impaled by a branch as it was learning to fly. You can read about it here or watch a video here. Above is a screen grab of the video that shows you what a dire predicament the eaglet was in--way at the top of a dead cottonwood tree--almost too dangerous to climb.


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We need to give a medal to this guy, Gordon Sasa, an arborist who risked his life to climb the tree and grab the bird.

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Look at Gordon go, getting that eagle!

But birds getting impaled on branches does happen.  I think we don't see it all that often because they die or get scavenged. But this old post from 2006 shows a sharp-shinned that survived impalement.

All the photos below this entry are courtesy of Frank Taylor.

I just got in a weekly banding report from Frank Taylor. In it was a an interesting account of a first year sharp-shinned hawk that had impaled it's wing on a twig. Frank said that it had healed up with a bit of the twig still in the wing!

They didn't try to pull out the twig, just clipped the ends that were close to the wing. The bird seemed to be doing just fine and they didn't want to stress it out with a trip to The Raptor Center down in the Cities. Frank used to be curator of birds at TRC and has been a master falconer for longer than I've been alive. He knows a healthy flight in a bird when he sees it, and with a high strung bird like an accipiter, letting it go gave it a better shot at survival than time in a rehab facility.

The injury was healed, I wonder how long ago it happened? Perhaps when it was learning to fly.

Another fine example of how birds will survive no matter what. It would never occur to this bird that, "Hey, I've got a stick in my wing, I don't feel like hunting and heading south to find food. I'm just going to hunker down and sleep today." Birds just do what has to be done in order to survive. I love that.