Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bald Eagle & Volunteer Team Up At Great Rivers Museum

 Patriot, our 17-year-old female Bald Eagle, and Volunteer Sandra Murray impressed guests who visited the Great River Museum recently on a cold wintry day.
  Patriot (Photo by Gay Schroer)
Patriot is a large female Bald Eagle who came to the World Bird Sanctuary when her nest tree at Mark Twain Lake blew into the water.  Patriot's siblings drowned.
Patriot, who was a gray fuzzy chick back then, was plucked from the icy waters of the lake and rushed to the World Bird Sanctuary Wildlife Hospital in an attempt to save her life.

When Patriot was brought in to the World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Hospital she was treated by a team of WBS staff, volunteers and vets.  Then she was placed in a human Isolette where she was kept warm and dry just as you would a human baby.  At times she seemed close to death.

There were times when she looked lifeless and I can remember Joe Hoffmann, another World Bird Sanctuary staff member, saying, “Don't be surprised if she is not alive in the morning.”  Joe and I were a lot younger then and we were in charge of the hospital patients on the weekends.  Even though the odds were against her, the efforts of many staff members and volunteers, and coupled with this bird’s seeming indomitable spirit and will to live, Patriot pulled through. 
 Patriot and Sandra Lowe Murray, WBS Volunteer/Naturalist (Photo by Mike Zieloski) 
Because of the lung damage she sustained Patriot was not releasable and is now a vital member of our Education Team.  She has worked at Grant's Farm, Sea World of Ohio for 6 years and has been at Home Plate for the Baseball Cardinals for the singing of the National Anthem.  She has also been to hundreds of schools and other public and private events.

One of the most moving parts of Patriot’s job is when she appears as the guest of honor at many Eagle Scout Ceremonies where we thank the young men for building their Eagle Scout Project at World Bird Sanctuary.
 Patriot and volunteer Sandra Murray (Photo by Mike Zieloski)
Sandra Lowe Murray began volunteering with World Bird Sanctuary in May 2011.  Sandra teaches guests, other volunteers and her coworkers about birds and other creatures.  If I remember correctly, the photos that I took on this day of Sandra and Patriot were very exciting--this was the first day that Sandra held Patriot for a program.
  National Great Rivers Museum, Alton, Illinois (photo by Mike Ziloski)
Sandra frequently assists with World Bird Sanctuary programs at The Great Rivers Museum and our displays at the Convention and Visitor's Bureau located in Alton, Illinois.  Everyone who meets Sandra is impressed with her enthusiasm for wildlife and learning. She is an excellent photographer as well.

As the winter Bald Eagle season winds down, I reminisce about all the great guests from Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana with whom Sandra and I were able to share our love of Bald Eagles.

I love the winter season because of the snow and the Bald Eagles.

Submitted by Michael Zieloski, World Bird Sanctuary Director of Education

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