Tricia Rosen, a Wilton resident and lifelong animal lover, took part last Friday in an ongoing effort to save an injured Connecticut bald eagle.
Rosen works closely with Tailor’s Wildlife Rescue Group, which operates mainly in lower Fairfield county. Volunteers like Rosen often assist rescue groups in other areas, as needed. When Rosen was notified about the need to transport a bald eagle, she jumped at the opportunity.
The eagle was discovered in distress by a hiker in Thomaston, CT, last Wednesday, according to published reports. With the help of a park ranger and a state environmental conservation police officer, the eagle was transported to the Sharon Audubon Center, whose mission is to protect birds and forest habitats, with four nature sanctuaries, a nature education center, and a wildlife rehabilitation clinic in Sharon, CT.
In her youth, Rosen raised countless baby birds, but she never imagined she’d come this close to a bald eagle. “Eagles have always been my favorite!” she told GMW.
Rosen marveled at the size and grandeur of the eagle that was in her presence. “It was just magnificent,” she exclaimed.
Rescuers determined the eagle has a broken wing. While the Sharon Audubon Center’s Sunny Kellner will oversee the eagle’s rehabilitation, it periodically needs to be transported to a Berlin veterinarian that is also involved with the eagle’s care and physical therapy. That’s where Rosen contributed to the team effort.
There’s no timeline for when the eagle will be released back into the wild. “We have to see how [the wing] heals and hopefully she can be released [at some point]. That’s always the goal,” said Rosen.
Rosen described the Sharon Audubon Center as “stunning” and plans to return. For one reason, the center has hiking trails that are open to the public (although the center itself is closed to visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Rosen also hopes to volunteer there to help with more wildlife rehab efforts in the future.
Donations to the Sharon Audubon Center are welcome.
As Rosen described how special her experience with the bald eagle was, she also reflected on how all wildlife deserves the same care and attention. Rosen often works with squirrels, which she says sometimes elicits puzzled looks from people. But Rosen says, “All [wildlife] is part of a bigger picture, all part of the same ecosystem. The [bald eagle experience] was certainly unique but I would do the same for any animal.”
Rosen has a track record that proves that to be true. She says she rehabbed 41 squirrels in 2020, often bottle-feeding them, among other feats. And when GMW spoke to Rosen, she was heading out to continue the search for Lexi, a Wilton yellow lab who has been missing since early December. Lexi was recently spotted again in Stamford.
Wait, Connecticut Has Bald Eagles?
In the 1960’s, bald eagles had nearly disappeared from the entire continental U.S., but after aggressive conservation efforts, they have slowly returned, even to Connecticut.
When Connecticut first passed the Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species List in 1992, the bald eagle was classified as “endangered” but it was more favorably reclassified as “threatened” in 2010 after steadily increasing in population.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) website, no bald eagle nests are currently known to be in Wilton, but they can be found in Greenwich, Darien, Norwalk, Weston, Fairfield, Easton, Monroe and many other cities and towns throughout the state.
Currently, the state is tracking 72 active nesting territories, which produced 88 chicks in 2020.
It’s Nesting Season
For Connecticut bald eagles, nesting season is about to begin. During this time, nesting eagles are often seen carrying sticks or clumps of grass.
Nests are usually 10-15 feet above the ground in trees, and can be several feet across.
Experts advise leaving eagles alone and observing them only from a distance. Eagles are easily stressed and disturbed, and they are especially sensitive as they try to set up their nests for the next several months. Even the slightest disturbance by humans can disrupt an eagle’s attempt to nest.
Eggs are usually laid in late February to mid-March, and incubate for about 35 days.
How To Spot A Bald Eagle
According to DEEP, young bald eagles are easily confused with golden eagles. Young bald eagles are grayer than the darker golden eagle and have much heavier bills.
Adult bald eagles have a distinctive white head and tail, and a brownish-black body. Their bills, eyes, and feet are yellow. Full-grown, most bald eagles are quite large, often 34-43 inches long with a wingspan of 6-8 feet. It can be difficult to distinguish some males from females, though females are typically larger.
And since they can fly 36-44 miles per hour, you’re lucky if you catch a glimpse.