CHENEY, Kan. A golden eagle, found injured in Wichita is closer to getting released back into the wild.
Kansas has golden eagles near the Colorado stateline, but Ken Lockwood with the Eagle Valley Raptor Center in Cheney says it’s rare to see them this far east.
"This bird was found in Wichita of all places, 71st Street South and Hydraulic, along the Arkansas River," said Lockwood.
His theory is the severe drought pushed her this way.
"We’ve had this severe drought situation out in Western Kansas. Not only does it affect people, farmer, their crops, but it affects wildlife. Water supply, food supply and we think that the birds are migrating east for food and water," said Lockwood.
As for her injury, Lockwood thinks she got tangled up with a pair of bald eagles who are very territorial during maiting season, which it was when she was found in March.
"She had a right wing injury where she could hardly pick it up, so we figured she got taloned, in other words, they got a hold of her with their talons. Their talons, either a bald or a golden are extremely deadly," said Lockwood.
Just this past Saturday he put the five or six year old bird in a flight pen to get her back into shape.
"She’s panting," said Lockwood. "See how her right wing is hanging just a little bit?"
Staying on the edge, Lockwood walks up and down the pen encouraging the golden to fly. He’ll do this for the next three weeks before he releases her back into the wild.
Lockwood says he’s worked with the Z Bar Ranch in Harper County and will release her there at the end of the month.