Nebraskaland April 2020

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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Page 43 of 63

ast spring, I received a call from conservation offi cer Matt Seitz who asked me to pick up an eagle that had fallen from a nest near Barneston. Although I was on vacation at the time, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to hold a baby eagle. I said I would get it and went out to meet the farmer who knew where the bird was located. Gary Remmers was working in his fi eld on April 27 when he noticed something yellow and out of place on the ground. Remmers stopped his tractor and moved closer to inspect. To his astonishment, a large ball of fl uff with large talons and a huge bill sat before him. Remmers called his son, Justin, who assisted him with the baby bald eagle. Justin told me that when he got there, he noticed an eagle's nest 40 feet up in a nearby tree. Adult eagles circled and screamed at them as they picked up the young bird. Justin agreed to meet me in Wymore. I was expecting to see a small ball of white fl uff or a bird that was nearly ready to fl edge. I did not expect a prehistoric-looking, chicken-like thing with gray, wool-like feathers covering its body. The baby eagle's down felt like a sheep's coat. The bird was calm when we made the transfer at Rex Adams' home in Wymore. We took a few photos, and from there, I went on my way to Fontenelle Forest's Raptor Recovery in Elmwood. Betsy and Doug Finch waited for my arrival. Betsy looked for injuries on the exam table while speaking to the bird in a comforting, assuring tone. It seemed to understand and stood up as tall as it could, spreading its nubby wings as if to say "all good." Betsy found no injuries, which was amazing since this bird had no wings that could help it to glide down to the ground. To prevent the young bird from imprinting on humans, Betsy fed it a small meal with an adult eagle in view. Raptor Recovery decided not to return the bird to the nest. For one thing, fi nding a way to get it there would be a feat, and secondly, we did not know if another eaglet had pushed this bird out of the nest while competing for food. It was lucky to survive one fall without injury. We did not want to take a chance on another one. For the next few months, Raptor Conservation offi cer Dina Barta picks up a baby eagle that Justin Remmers and his father rescued on their farm. L Betsy Finch examines the eaglet for injuries at Fontenelle Forest's Raptor Recovery in Elmwood. Story and photos by Dina Barta Story and photos by Dina Barta Just an Eagle 44 Nebraskaland • April 2020

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