Saturday, June 7, 2008

Adopt a Bird Spotlight: Patriot (Bald Eagle)

The most amazing part of being a volunteer at WBS is getting to know the birds we care for as individuals. Our Adopt A Bird program allows supporters to become involved in the life and care of a bird they might otherwise never have a chance to meet. Adoptive parents get to visit and have their photograph taken with their bird, as well as receive information on the bird's welfare and activities. The donation goes to feed, house and care for the bird of your choice! Personally I can say that both volunteering and adopting have been the opportunity of a lifetime. To check out our adoptable birds, click on "Adopt a Bird" in the subject list of this blog. I'll be adding more birds as this blog continues.

Patriot's Story

Species: Bald Eagle
Hatched: 3/17/95

In March 1995, Patriot's parents used the same nest tree they had used for the past four years at Clarence Cannon Wildlife Refuge. A violent storm in mid-April brought the tree down. Refuge staff responded quickly, but two of the chicks were already dead. The one surviving chick was in poor condition due to being in water for at least an hour. She was treated for pneumonia, gained seven pounds in two weeks, and regained her strength. However, because of the permanent lung damage she sustained, she could not survive in the wild.

Patriot has become a real favorite of staff and visitors alike. She has appeared in programs at Grant's Farm, Sea World of Ohio in Clarksville, and a multitude of eagle programs throughout the Midwest. She was also one of two eagles standing at home plate during the National Anthem for the opening game of the St. Louis Cardinals' run for Division title in 2004!

To adopt Patriot, simply click our donation button, make a donation of $150, and specify in your payment notes: Adopt-a-bird: PATRIOT. Also include your name, phone number, and mailing address so that we can send you your adoption materials!

Every donation helps to feed, house, and provide medical care for the bird of your choice! Adopt-A-Bird Parents Receive:

  • *A personal visit with the bird you adopt!!!!! Call 636-861-3225 to set up a time for
  • your personal visit.
  • * Certificate of Adoption
  • * Color photo of the bird you've adopted
  • * Sponsorship Card
  • * One year's subscription to Mews News (our quarterly newsletter)
  • * Life History and Natural History of the bird
  • * 10% Discount off WBS merchandise
  • * Invitation to Sponsors-only events like Camera Day
  • * Discounts on WBS Special Events
  • * WBS Decal

Natural History

Bald Eagle
Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Description: large; white head, neck and tail; brown-black body; massive yellow bill and feet

Sex: males and females are similar but females are larger

Age: juveniles are mostly dark brown with white blotches underneath and on the wing linings; become more white each molt; gain adult plumage after 4-5 years; immature calls are generally harsher

Length: 31-37”

Wingspan: 5.8-7.5’

Weight: 8-14 lbs.
Habitat: rivers, lakes, coastal areas

Status: seen across most of North America; common in Alaska, parts of Florida and in the Midwest during winter months; common along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in winter; became endangered in the 70s from pesticides; conservation programs and pesticide banning helped increase populations again

Range: Alaska and Canada to the southern United States

Behavior: monogamous pairs; breed April-August and build a stick nest as high as 150 feet above the ground, usually in a tree or on cliffs near water; renovate and add to their nest each year until it falls; 1 brood with 1-3 dull, whitish eggs; both parents incubate for 34-36 days until semi-altricial chicks hatch asynchronously; chicks leave nest at 10 weeks; large numbers of bald eagles often congregate where food is plentiful, like spawning ruts; will steal food from smaller and weaker osprey; fly low after prey
Diet: carrion, fish, waterfowl, birds, small mammals

Vocalization: sharp, pleading, creaking cackle; “kleek-kik-ik-ik-ik”; lower “kak-kak-kak”

√ The bald eagle has been the national symbol of the United States since 1782.

Adopt A Bird spotlights are written and photographed by Gay Schroer.

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