Unfortunately, injured bird found along State Road 64 doesn't survive surgery for broken shoulder.
Dale Nauman and his wife, Lisa, tell slightly different versions of their attempt at a bald eagle rescue on May 1.
Dale said he saw the eagle on the side of the road and picked it up.
Lisa's version was a bit more colorful. She said her husband spotted the eagle, deftly maneuvered a U-turn with their boat hitched to their truck, and discovered a bird with talons the size of her hands lying on the curb.
Then she added something else about her husband.
“He’s the Eagle Man,” Lisa said.
Dale Nauman, 55, has been interested in eagles since he was a child. He and his father, Ken, would search for them.
“We always had a love of birds when I was very young,” he said. “Eagles are the king of birds. At that time, it was a rare sight to see.”
Nauman has lived in the Lake Manatee area since he was 13 and he has seen the eagle population grow, or at least become more noticeable. Eagles were once endangered, however in 2007 the status was removed after the federal government successfully implemented a species conservation movement which saved them.
As a member of the Florida Audubon Society’s Eaglewatch program, he monitors nests and families closely, and even takes other program volunteers on an eagle-watch trolley once a year.
“Eagles are getting more in contact with our urban environment,” he said.
However, with his experience watching for eagles, he said it’s easy to see them when you know where to look.
Several eagles live around the Lena Road landfill area. In the fall, Nauman said the eagles hatch their eggs and the young birds convene on the power lines.
When eagles are young, they’re all brown and not as recognizable as their older counterparts.
The eagle Nauman attempted to rescue on May 1 was a young female around 2 years old. He noticed it while he and Lisa were driving home from the beach. It was on State Road 64, near the landfill.
“We found it on the pavement, it was laying there in the sun,” Lisa said.
When he first approached the bird, it wasn’t moving, and he thought it was dead. But when he got closer, the eagle cocked her head and extended her talons, but she couldn’t move off her back.
Nauman covered the bird’s head, then wrapped her up in a blanket. Covering a bird’s eyes helps calm it down.
“We carried her like a baby,” he said.
The couple called the Wildlife Center of Venice, which specializes in injured bird care, and voluntarily drove the injured female 40 miles to the wildlife rescue.
She was diagnosed with a broken shoulder, and she eventually didn't make it through surgery.
Although the couple was sad with the news, both were glad they had helped. Nauman has rescued eagles before.
“It was an exciting moment to try to help it,” Lisa said.
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