We bring you glad tidings from Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources!
The latest edition of Georgia Wild — news of nongame and natural habitats — has hit the Internet.
LakeAllatoona.com offers you these excerpts:
First in the headlines, a snowy owl showed up on Sea Island. From 1930 to 2001, as few as five of these beautiful Arctic raptors have been documented in Georgia, and only one other along the coast. The owl caused a stir among birders – about 250 flocked to the private resort island to see it – before moving to adjacent St. Simons Island, where admirers were photographing it this week.
Tim Keyes, a wildlife biologist on the coast with Georgia DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section, said most snowy owls that show up far south are young males pushed by dwindling food resources in the north and adult birds defending their feeding territories.
Keyes said one pellet from this bird included mostly songbird bones. Judging by the direction the snowy owl has been flying each afternoon recently, it may be targeting prey more common for the species: gulls, terns and other shorebirds.
DNR rangers along the coast recently captured one ailing bald eagle in a Savannah neighborhood and began investigating another adult bird found dead in rural Bryan County.
Ranger Jason Miller retrieved the dead bird November 28th after a hunting club member spotted it on leased land in the Waterford Landing/Belfast River Road area. The eagle had no visible injuries, Miller said.
An x-ray by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island did not reveal any pellets or bullet fragments, according to Tim Keyes. Eagles are protected by state and federal laws.
The November 30 call from a homeowner in a south Savannah subdivision had a brighter ending. Ranger Kate Hargrove and Cpl. Chris Moore arrived to find a bald eagle that couldn’t fly but could walk and hop. They herded the bird into a cage. “Probably the easiest eagle grab I’ve ever done,” said Hargrove, then took it to where Hargrove used to work: The Center for Birds of Prey, part of the Avian Conservation Center near Charleston, S.C.
The center’s medical clinic director, Debbie Mauney, wrote in an email that the eagle had deep puncture wounds from conflict with another bird, likely another eagle, but there were no fractures.
Mauney is hopeful the eagle will recover — a process that will probably take several weeks. The bird will then be released back into the wild at a site to be determined.
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