Unique operation on Sakhalin: Moscow ornithologist saved the eyesight of red-eagle

An amazing story, which saved the life of a unique wild birds — Steller’s sea eagle, happened on Sakhalin island. Rare predator behind his comrades, flown away to warmer climes and settled on oil and gas platform in the Okhotsk sea. The staff of the platform drew attention to the atypical behaviour of the feathered guest: he’s not going to fly and if asking for help from people. The oilers were very sensitive and asked for the help of the best ornithologists of the country. The experts arrived on the island, revealed the white serious eye damage. It prevented it to fly away for the winter. Surprisingly, the eagles took in this situation the only right decision — to come to people for help. The bird committed to stay comfortable room, where he is now undergoing treatment and rehabilitation. “Doctor” eagle, Moscow ornithologist Vladimir Romanov has told “MK” the details of the rescue operation.

Photo: Gregory Ivannikov.

A special guest appeared on oil and gas platform “Berkut”, which is based in the Okhotsk sea, 25 km from the coast, November 29. On this day staff first noticed that on the deck among the wooden crates sitting Steller’s sea eagle. This is a rare species listed in the Red book. According to various sources, in the world there are only 5,000 to 6,000 individuals. Usually eagles do not fly so far out to sea, and prefer to hunt near the coast and in shallow bays. The predator showed no aggression towards people, but looked tired. He made no attempts to fly.

— Before the onset of cold weather, Steller’s sea eagles migrate from Sakhalin to warmer climes in Japan — explains the Director of the hospital of the birds Vladimir Romanov. — Apparently, the eagles didn’t have the strength to leave — and he left. But to survive in winter conditions this bird is extremely difficult, he has practically no possibility to produce their own food.

The oilers decided to feed the birds. And for the time that they had to care for the bird, they had attached to it. Indeed, the care of the person helped a white to slightly gain strength after some time he disappeared. On the platform this fact is very worried, assumptions built particularly disappointing. But after a few days the fugitive was discovered on another offshore platform, called the Orlan. By the way, all the major oil and gas project on Sakhalin island, are named after birds of prey. There are also rigs “Hawk” and “Falcon”. This choice is due to geography and a desire to remind employees about the need to protect nature.

Began to find out how immature bird was able to fly to a new home — because the distance between the objects is about 15 km in Order to overcome it, you need to be in excellent physical shape. The solution was rather unusual. Around the same time, the support vessel “Alexei Chirikov” have made the next flight between objects. Apparently, the predator turned into a hare, flew on Board the “Eagle,” and went to “the Eagle”.

There he was given a warm reception: the bird has all been heard, so he provided the table and shelter. And also called the watchers. More Orlan did not attempt the move.

In December from Moscow to Sakhalin departed Vladimir Romanov. “And in the face of his wind, and snow, and hail,” wrote Chukovsky in the famous “Dolittle”. Approximately the same was the way doctor from the capital to the offshore platform. First, he flew by a regular flight, then sat on the train, and then the helicopter took him to the sea of the object — and all this with Luggage, which was professional equipment.

Photo: Eugene Murnaev.

— During the inspection of Orlan I diagnosed him with bilateral keratitis is a serious eye damage, says Romanov. — This is the main reason he was not able to earn their living. In addition, tests revealed he had problems with his kidneys and liver.

The bird had all the necessary manipulations, including ECG and ultrasound. Found out that it is a male, whose age is little more than a year. It was in a very exhausted condition.

Identified the problem with the eyes of a predator was a matter of life and death. After all, if the disease is not addressed it will lead to blindness. Needed serious treatment. Ornithologist stayed on the platform and come to grips with the restoration of the health of the winged patient. Most importantly, we had daily drip eye drops and injections in the eye area. Also needed supportive therapy — injections of drugs which help to restore the function of the kidneys and liver.

To the patient all that hated. But it was the only way to save his life. Since the eagle listed in the Red book, everything that happens to him is fixed, the reports are sent to Rosprirodnadzor.

During injection the head of the eagle had to keep, because if he flinched, the drug could not get there, — says Vladimir Vladimirovich.

Gradually, the birds health improved, she got stronger. But the film, which is formed on eyes with keratitis, can not disappear in a short time. Treatment was planned long, and leave the feathered on the deck, let it to it accustomed to, unsafe. We had to find a warm room where the patient does not disturb the drafts, snow and other weather vicissitudes. One of the world’s largest oil companies, which organized the life-saving operation, decided to move the eagle in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. For him equipped with any shelter on the premises. Early eagle has organized comfortable transportation, first by helicopter, he was taken to the airport, “Nogliki”, where he car traveled through the whole island into a regional center. Now the winged guest are quite accustomed on a new place. He is under constant supervision of experts, gets the necessary treatment and adequate nutrition. The main diet of birds in the hospital is a red fish — complaints from the patient does not arrive.

Ornithologists hope that the treatment will help the eagle recover. If all goes well, the predator can be released back into the wild.

By the way, Steller’s sea eagle is the largest eagle in the world. Even the bald eagle, whose image is the emblem of America, is smaller. Steller’s sea is considered to be the pride of Russia.

— What is surprising is that the eagles resorted to the help of man, — said Vladimir Romanov. He must understand that he will not be able to cope with their condition, and chose the only right way that will help him stay alive.

By the way, in nature there are examples when birds with health problems to seek help from the bipeds. For example, white storks — when healthy individuals fly South, weakened, unable to stay in the same area and come into the village. There are cases when people even let them ride out the cold in the henhouse, where fed all winter. And in the spring, they reunited with colleagues.

Photo: Eugene Murnaev.

INTERESTING CASE: Siberian pensioner fattened wounded kite to obesity

A couple of years ago the staff of the rehabilitation Center of birds of prey in Novosibirsk had to nurse the kite excessively overweight. Before that wounded bird lived in a shed at a local pensioner — grandmother sheltered a sick kite and fed it with store-bought meat that he soon recovered. Alas, high-calorie diet not only helped the predator to recover, but on the contrary, only worsened his condition. The staff of the center, which included a bird that was diagnosed with “obesity” and put the patient on a strict diet. Kite — and he turned out to be female — was given the nickname ‘ Fat Lucy.


Australia’s plan to create a special “beascoechea zone” to protect populations of birds which destroy feral cats. Scientists estimate that every year, they kill millions of wild birds. When focused on counting the number of feathers and birds, which were found in the waste of cat life. Experts said that cats are directly to blame for the downsizing of dozens of species of birds. Environmentalists are seriously concerned that the Mouser is destroyed and those birds that are listed in the Red book. The way out of the situation, according to them, one: the creation of safe zones where birds will not be threatened by a meeting with members of the cat. It is planned to clean from the wild cats of undisturbed areas, and to prohibit the import there new Pets.

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