Don’t tread on my national bird

By Brandon Evans | Published Saturday, September 29, 2012

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WING MAN – Wise County Game Warden Chris Dowdy holds up a bald eagle that suffered a broken wing when it was hit by a car in Jack County. Dowdy worked with Jack County Game Warden Gary Hobbs to rescue the injured eagle. Submitted photo

Some people think it’s a crime to pick bluebonnets. If that’s so, running over a bald eagle would be a capital offense. Even though it may sound far-fetched, that’s what happened several weeks ago in neighboring Jack County.

Jack County Game Warden Gary Hobbs received a call about an injured bald eagle found a little north of Jacksboro. After he located the disabled raptor, he contacted Wise County Game Warden Chris Dowdy for assistance.

“The injuries were consistent with a collision with a car,” Dowdy said. “He had two broken bones in one of his wings.”

The eagle was not a happy camper.

“He wasn’t real friendly,” Dowdy said of the injured bird. “He had to be restrained. He has large talons and a great big beak. We come in contact with injured owls and hawks a lot, but they can only get you with their feet.”

Dowdy said the bird was transported to a Wise County veterinarian who volunteers some of his time to work on injured birds of prey.

“He’s already had one surgery and one of the fractures has started to heal, but the other one is going to require at least one more surgery,” Dowdy said. “Our vet is doing all he can but Mother Nature has a lot to say about it … but I feel good about his chances for recovery.”

Dowdy hopes that within a month the bird can be released back into the wild. Or, if he doesn’t recover fully, perhaps he can be used for educational purposes.

Although the bald eagle is normally just a wintertime visitor to this part of Texas, this one might have been a permanent resident.

“We have them in Palo Pinto County and up around the Red River,” Dowdy said. “But we see them more during the winter due to migration. This bird might have lived here year-round.”

Thanks to the help of game wardens and a local vet, it’s hoped that he’ll become a wild resident again soon.

BROKEN WING – This downed eagle is being rehabilitated at a local veteranian’s office after suffering two broken bones in its right wing. They hope to release it back into the wild next month if it makes a full recovery. Submitted photo

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