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Stony Creek Nature Center looking for help to locate, save injured eagle

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 18, 2020

 Stony Creek Metropark volunteers are looking to the public in hopes of finding an eagle that has been injured.

Stony Creek Metropark volunteers are looking to the public in hopes of finding an eagle that has been injured.

Photo provided by Ruth Glass

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Stony Creek Metropark Nature Center is looking to the public for help in finding an eagle that has been seriously injured.

According to park staff, the park’s resident female bald eagle has a serious injury to her right foot and possibly her leg. It is doubtful that she can catch prey or eat, and she is not able to perch, causing all her flight feathers to become completely tattered in recent days.

The eagle was last observed at Stony Creek Metropark on Feb. 7, but has not been spotted since.

The bird, called P85, is a wild bald eagle, and several of the regular birders and volunteers have been photographing and watching her for many years in the same nesting location.

The bird does have identification tags on each foot, which might help someone spot the bird.

“A band can be seen on each of P85’s talons (one silver and one red) in many photos, which is how this bird can be identified from a distance. Bald eagles are known to travel large distances and occupy territories greater than a square mile,” said Tyler Mitchell, Stony Creek’s chief of natural resources and regulatory compliance, in an email.

It is possible that the eagle is no longer in the park, but park staff is hoping someone might spot her again in the park or even outside the park.

The park does have an emergency plan in place. If the eagle is down and unable to fly, staff is asking that the spotter notify park management regardless of her location.

Danielle Mauter, the chief of marketing and communications for Huron-Clinton Metroparks, said the park will bring in a professional to help rehabilitate the injured bird.

“Our staff do have an emergency response plan if an injured eagle is found in the park that includes contacting a licensed raptor rehabilitator. If a visitor sees an injured eagle within the park, they should contact the park office,” she said in an email.

The park is asking that if anyone sees the female eagle flying with tattered feathers, or an adult eagle attempting but failing to perch, that you report your sighting to Joan Bonin at jzbonin@comcast.net or call the park office at (586) 781-4242.

“The more eyes that are out there, the more likely it is we will find her,” said Bonin, a park volunteer, in an email.

Stony Creek Metropark is a Huron-Clinton Metropark that covers 4,461 acres and is located at 4300 Main Park Drive in Shelby Township. The park is in Washington Township, Oakland Township and a small portion of Shelby Township.