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The Villages
Monday, April 19, 2021

Love all our wildlife as you love your dogs

To the Editor:

I moved to The Villages in 2004 and have loved watching the growth of our bird populations over the years because of the environmental consciousness of our Developer. Some Ospreys, Owls, and Bald Eagles prefer to build nests on electrical stanchions rather than our beautiful trees.
Once again Bald Eagles have nested and produced two eaglets on a Mulberry Recreation Trail stanchion. Birders and non-birders love watching the little ones being fed and then fledging and the cycle begins again.
n March 1 one eaglet, having left the nest, was standing on a Tee-box near its nest-stanchion attracting onlookers and definitely in harm’s way. By late afternoon concerned Villagers were calling for help. Two Eaglewatch volunteers netted the Eaglet and put him up on a low tree branch. I watched him until dark while climb higher in the tree.
On March 2, I arrived at 7a.m. to find the fledgling standing in a different fairway.
Two curious dog walkers stopped as I explained the Eaglet’s predicament and left. A man with an unleashed dog approached. I asked him to please not come closer to the Eaglet. The man walked away but the dog remained, sniffing at the Eaglet, and I was envisioning what might happen next. I called to the man and asked him to please call his dog when he told me to “mind my own business”. When I tried to explain why he needed to call his dog he told me to “shut up”.  Eaglet had raised his huge wings to defend himself and could have killed the dog in an instant. The bird was very upset but not as upset as I am.
Why, possibly, is someone living in our “paradise” with such anger and rudeness towards others?  Why are unleashed dog allowed to run on golf courses?
There IS a happy end to this story – after this incident, adult Eagle was calling and Eaglet FLEW away, low to the ground, but AWAY.
Please, love all our wildlife as you love your dogs!

Alice Horst
Audubon Eaglewatch Volunteer
Quail Ridge Villas, Briar Meadow

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