Friday, January 17, 2014

Bald eagles in Webster / League City

I wasn't going to post about this, because reporting is always iffy where wildlife is concerned.  But Houston Chronicle has now let the proverbial cat out of the bag regarding the Clear Creek eagles (paywalled article), so I might as well follow up on that by giving you some pointers on how and where you might be lucky enough to make a sighting. 
Publicly disclosing the presence of rare wildlife is iffy because, if people find out about it, the creatures may come under increased scrutiny from curious onlookers, which could stress them to the point of ceasing their natural behaviors (for example, they might abandon their nest).  Or, in a worst-case scenario, public disclosure could lead to illegal activity such as poaching. 

Photo from Wikipedia.   
Keep your eyes peeled as you are motoring across Clear Creek on Highway 3, IH-45, or Egret Bay Boulevard (FM 270). 
There, there, and there.

But drive carefully as you are keeping an eye out.  The first time I saw one of them, I was regrettably on IH-45, and with the unavoidable "HOLY SH*T!!!" moment that ensued, I almost ran off the road.  Because you just don't see a bald eagle on an average day in suburbia. 

Keep your eyes peeled any time you are close to Clear Creek, for instance, if you visit Fairview CemeteryWalter Hall Park, or Heritage Park.

Keep your eyes peeled if you visit the Dudney Nature Center in League City. 

And if you see them in any of these locations, don't try to approach them.  Act nonchalant and try not to stare directly at them.  Many wild animals interpret a direct stare (even from a distance) as an act of aggression or intended predation. 
Tap to expand.  They may have been delisted, but it's still illegal to mess with them

Screengrabbed from this US Fish and Wildlife site
There's a darned good reason to drop by the Dudney Center tomorrow morning (Saturday January 18, 2014) at 9:30 a.m., irrespective of the bald eagles.  The Wildlife Center of Texas plans to release two red-tailed hawks that have completed their rehabilitation.  Here's the announcement and the story of those hawks on Chron's Pets Houston blog. 
Speaking of "HOLY SH*T!" moments, I finished writing this blog post, got up from my desk, walked to my kitchen, and saw this hawk sitting on my back fence.  His avian ears must have been burning, given that I was talking about his feathered brethren.  Unfortunately he zoomed on out of there before I could get any really good pics.  This one is out of focus taken from the wrong side of the window blinds. 

In previous posts, I warned people not to leave toy dog breeds such as chihuahuas outdoors in their back yards.  This is why.  Our local birds of prey are not shy.   

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