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Laurens County woman rescues bald eagle | Community Spirit

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Laurens County woman rescues bald eagle
Laurens County woman rescues bald eagle

By Kristen Swilley

Flying squirrels, rabbits, and a variety of birds have taken refuge in this Glenwood home, but Vonda Lee Morton says bald eagles like the one that arrived Christmas Eve are a rarity.

Vonda Lee Morton of Laurens Wildlife Rescue helped mend his injured wing, even after he took a chunk out of her cheek.

Flying squirrels, rabbits, and a variety of birds have taken refuge in this Glenwood home, but Vonda Lee Morton says bald eagles like the one that arrived Christmas Eve are a rarity.

"So I really thought she was joking. I said for real...and she said 'unfortunately yes," Morton says of the call she received from a DNR wildlife biologist after the bird was found near the Emanuel and Jenkins county line.

"This is a big deal because bald eagles have been de-listed from the endangered species list, but they are still very highly regulated," Morton said.

Morton has treated hundreds of birds in her eight years with Laurens Wildlife Rescue, but she says eagles are among the most difficult.

"The ill-tempered, aggressive snots? People say "Oh, it's the American symbol. They're beautiful. They're majestic. Well, they are very pretty in flight, but when you have to deal with them up close and personal they are ill-tempered. They are aggressive. They are dangerous," Morton said.

They named this one Buckshot.

And Morton says he was trouble from the start.

Because he's flailing those wings. And I'm trying to turn him around and he whips his head around and takes a chunk out of my chin, so you can see that.

Aside from the battle wound Morton says the exam was successful.

X-rays showed only a flesh wound to his left wing, no lead in his system which meant he hadn't been shot, and with a little rehab, Buckshot will likely fly again.

Now, Morton says it's all about getting him back where he belongs.

"If I can put these animals back out into their environment as healthy, stable birds then I've partially compensated for our damage to the environment," she says.

Buckshot is now at another rehab facility where his treatment is going well.

They plan on turning him over to the Department of Natural Resources who will attempt to reconnect him with his mate and the rest of his convocation. That's the proper name for a flock of eagles.

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