MESERVEY — A Meservey woman found it odd a towering, darkly-colored bird was sticking close to her family’s acreage this week.
Abby Zieman first noticed it late Monday, when it flew up onto her barn, and again on Tuesday, when it stayed on her front deck all morning.
“I didn’t quite know what it was, but it was acting strange,” she said.
Keeping her pets and toddler inside for safety, she sent photos of the bird to her uncle, who likes eagles. He told her he thought it was a juvenile eagle, whose head and tail feathers don’t turn white until 4 or 5 years old.
Zieman then contacted Saving Our Avian Resources (SOAR), a non-profit Iowa organization dedicated to saving raptors, and Wright County Conservation.
Conservation employees captured the raptor Tuesday afternoon. They plan to transport it to SOAR on Wednesday.
Wright County Park Ranger Eric Rector said he’s not sure what’s wrong with the bird, which he says is a “couple years old” and between 18 to 24 inches tall.
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Adults are generally close to twice that size, according to National Geographic. Once fully mature, bald eagles weigh 6.5 to 14 pounds, have a wingspan of 6 to 8 feet and live up to 30 years.
Rector said the eagle, the second they’ve rescued this year, has been eating perch fillets, drinking water and is able to make short flights.
Kay Neumann, executive director of SOAR, said it’s unusual for her organization to take in young eagles. Judging by photos, she said the raptor could have been born this year.
“They’re pretty dependent on adults when they leave the nest, so something must have happened that separated it from its parents,” she said. “We had one come that was blown out of a nest, so we’re possibly seeing an aftermath of storm victims.”
Neumann said the majority of SOAR’s patients are admitted in the fall and winter, often due to lead poisoning.
Once at SOAR, the eagle will be evaluated for injuries, fed and rehabilitated before being released.