Sycamore’s Oaken Acres Wildlife Center gives eagle 2nd chance at life

By DREW ZIMMERMAN March 19, 2018 | Daily Chronicle
SYCAMORE – A couple from Lee County called Oaken Acres Wildlife Center in January to report an injured bird of prey on their property, which they thought to be a young bald eagle.

When Oaken Acres staff arrived the next day, they discovered a young eagle, which the couple had named Freddie, in a field beneath several wind turbines. The bird lacked the strength to move and had a wing that almost completely was severed from its body.

Oaken Acres animal care director Carly Stadie said that because of the severity of the injury, the wing could not be repaired and had to be partially amputated.

Oaken Acres Wildlife Center animal care director Carly Stadie talks Friday about an injured juvenile bald eagle the Sycamore center recently took in. The injuries the eagle suffered are consistent with a wind turbine strike. The bird's injured wing eventually had to be amputated.
Mark Busch –

Although Freddie will never fly again, his story now can be used to educate residents about the eagle population within the area and the threat of wind turbines to flying creatures.

The cause of Freddie’s injury appeared obvious to Oaken Acres staff members, and after a veterinarian familiar with wind turbine strikes looked at the eagle’s X-rays, he agreed that the broken wing was consistent with being hit by the blade of a turbine.

Stelford said the issue of flying animals being killed by wind turbines is one that many wildlife and conservation officials find extremely difficult, maybe impossible, to reconcile with the advantages of alternative energy.

“I have written to all of our County Board members about my opposition to the new wind farm project before Freddie was injured, but his story has made it even more significant for me,” Stelford said. “Most birds that are struck by turbines do not survive.”

The DeKalb County Board recently approved a proposal to install two wind testing towers in the South Grove Township to gauge the conditions for potentially adding a wind farm in the area.

Stadie said traditional turbines have been problematic for birds, but there are innovative ways to make them more bird- and bat-friendly.

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