Native Village 
Youth and Education News

December 1, 2013

Rehabilitated eagles released on CN trust land
 
11/21/2013 8:48:01 AM
 
 
 
 
Cherokee Nation citizen Gary Siftar of the Raptor Center in Broken Arrow, Okla., releases an adult male eagle back into the wild near Kerr Lake in Sequoyah County after nearly 19 months of rehabilitation. The eagle became coated in animal fat while eating dead chickens in April 2012 and could not fly. SHARON GWIN/CHEROKEE NATION CITIZEN
Cherokee Nation citizen Gary Siftar of the Raptor Center in Broken Arrow, Okla., releases an adult male eagle back into the wild near Kerr Lake in Sequoyah County after nearly 19 months of rehabilitation. The eagle became coated in animal fat while eating dead chickens in April 2012 and could not fly. SHARON GWIN/CHEROKEE NATION CITIZEN
BY WILL CHAVEZ Senior Reporter SALLISAW, Okla. – Two rehabilitated bald eagles were released into the wild Nov. 9 on Cherokee Nation trust property near Kerr Lake in Sequoyah County. The property is located a few miles from where a cattle rancher in April 2012 discovered an injured adult eagle. While searching for food, the eagle got into a pile of rotting chickens at a nearby chicken farm and became coated in animal fat, which left him unable to fly. The rancher, Ron Hull of Spiro, said he often sees eagles fly around his property. “We were out checking our cows and we just happened to look up at the road in front of us and we saw this bald eagle. It couldn’t fly very far. We went home and called...and they came out and Gary Siftar caught it,” Hull said. CN citizen Gary Siftar and his wife Kathy came to Hull’s property to pick up the bird. They operate the Raptor Center in Broken Arrow and specialize in rescuing injured raptor birds. They have operated the center for 24 years and helped rescue 20 eagles during that time. “It was almost starved to death. It was oiled or heavily greased. We knew it was some kind of grease but it took us a while to figure out exactly what it was,” Gary said. Later, the Siftars sent some of the bird’s feathers to a lab to confirm the feathers were soaked in animal fat. “We tried bathing it twice in Dawn, which is the traditional thing for petroleum oil and it didn’t take it off. After a few weeks we transferred it to the Iowa Tribe in Perkins. They’ve got a big eagle aviary, and they kept the bird until it molted and got rid of the oily feathers,” Gary said. The older eagle, estimated to be 4 to 5 years old, came to be called Oily Bird by staff at the Grey Snow Eagle House in Perkins. The younger bald eagle was found near Oklahoma City and rescued by the Iowa Tribe. It was tangled in fishing line and could not fly. “They cleaned it up, and it’s recovered well,” Gary said. “It’s been in the same flight with this (adult) eagle, so we are hoping the young eagle has learned from the old eagle. We’re releasing them together in the hopes that they will stay together long enough for the younger one to get acclimated. The old one knows how to fish and live in the wild.” The GSEH operated is the only facility in the country that rehabilitates eagles. GSEH Manager Victor Roubidoux said the adult eagle was allowed to molt his feathers and that was the only issue that bird was having. Once he grew new feathers he was again waterproof and able to go back into the wild. GSEH aviary assistant Resa Bayhylle said it took time for the adult eagle to recover from being covered in animal fat. It’s usually not a quick process, she said, for eagles in his condition to molt and gain new feathers, for the bird’s natural oils to return and then for the bird to preen his feathers to have water-resistant feathers. “It takes time. It’s not a six-month deal. Sometimes it could take two years for a bird in that condition to molt his feathers to be able to set free,” she said. She said Oily Bird was instrumental in teaching the younger eagle how to hunt. The eagles are able to hunt rabbits and fish at the GSEH, and the juvenile eagle learned to hunt by observing the adult, she said. Roubidoux said he hoped the older eagle would continue to foster the younger one until he is able to fend for himself. “We wanted to make sure and release them near a lake. They are fish eagles, so they catch fish,” he said. “They are very social, and we like to release them around other birds.” He said GSEH staff visited the CN’s trust land before deciding to release the birds near the lake. He said he appreciates the culture-to-culture relationship the aviary has with the CN. CN Administration Support Department Liaison Pat Gwin said the eagles have 680 acres of trust land on which to roam and hunt. “As far as Cherokee Nation trust property goes, we probably have more eagles here per square mile here than anywhere else. One of these eagles is a juvenile, so it’s going to have plenty of mentors to be with,” Gwin said. “As a biologist, to me it’s really cool when an eagle is saved from certain death.”

						
						
						 
 


Native Village Home Page

Native Village © Gina Boltz
To receive email notices of Native Village updates, please send your email address to: NativeVillage500@aol.com
To contact us, email NativeVillage500@aol.com

 Backgrounds: www.robertkaufman.com

Thank you to ALL the wonderful individuals,  friends, organizations, groups, news services and websites who share or donate their research, work, time and talents to make Native Village possible
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research, archival, news, and educational purposes only.
NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators, families, and friends who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples. We offer readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites.  Each issue shares today's happenings in Indian country. NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website libraries and informational materials to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written in full by the credited author at the credited source link. We are responsible for format changes and additional photos, art, and graphics which boost visual appeal and add dimension to the reading experience. Pictures and graphics not appearing with the original article are either credited on the page or by right-clicking the picture. Some may be free or by sources unknown.
Please contact us with any copyright corrections so we may properly credit the source.
 We are not responsible for changes to outside websites and weblinks. Please notify us if any problems arise.