As we transition into fall here in Oklahoma, everything is greener than usual as a result of our milder temperatures and the added rainfall late in the summer. We are thankful for the rain. However, that also means an extended mosquito season.
This month we will be vaccinating the birds against the West Nile Virus as we conducting our yearly veterinary checkups for the permanent resident eagles here at the aviary.
The changing seasons have already prompted migration. Black Chinned Humming Birds have stopped here to feed as they begin their long trek to South America and we have seen kettles of Mississippi Kites drifting south as the wind shifted from the north.
We continue to scan the skies for Wadase Zhabwe hoping she will make her way home to visit. We have made several trips north to the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River where she has been since the June 23. She continues to settle in remote, peaceful places along the river that have limited access, which makes finding her a challenge. We have seen eagle tracks in the sandy banks, remnants of eaten fish and turtles, and even found several juvenile eagle feathers. But we have yet to spot her along her favorite seven miles of the river.
Score from Salt Fork trips: Wadase 5 – Us 0.
Studying Wadase’s recent telemetry we learned she spent the weekend roosted along the river near the White Eagle Powwow Grounds during this year’s annual Ponca Nation powwow. Her favorite portion of the Salt Fork runs right through the historic Miller’s 101 Ranch and she has spent a great deal of time by Cowboy Hill near what remains of the old homestead. She adhered to the same basic movements working her way around the bends mainly from where HWY 177 crosses the Salt Fork to the west near Cowboy Hill Rd until September 14. Midday she headed north towards Blackwell, Okla. following the Chikaskia River, a tributary of the Salt Fork. The last telemetry point we were able to download indicated she was flying 580 meters high heading northwest at 22 knots. It will be three days until we can download new telemetry. That short time continues to feel like forever as we wait to see where she may be headed. Since her release she has visited 17 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. She has remained in the state the entire time, however that point near Blackwell is just 17 miles from the Oklahoma-Kansas border. To follow her movements with us you can visit www.arcgis.com/home and search for “Potawatomi eagle.”