The bald eagle who was plucked from her nest and pummeled by a home-wrecking flirt in November is on the mend.
According to an official at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, the eagle's chest no longer looks like a Thanksgiving turkey.
"Well, I would say that she looks like the Rogaine is working," said Lynda White, coordinator of the center's EagleWatch program. "Most of her feathers have begun growing back."
That's a good thing, she said. Not only are they used for flying, chest feathers keep eagles insulated.
"Like now," White said, "when the weather is so cold. The birds use those feathers to keep them warm."
The eagle was in bad shape when she arrived at the center after a lover's quarrel in a Palm Harbor neighborhood. As recently as December, White estimated it would be several months before the feathers grew back.
The bird is recovering ahead of schedule, White said, but she isn't in the clear. There are still two areas of concern: deep puncture wounds on her beak and on her leg.
"They are healing, but it's been a slow process," White said. "She still needs daily care, so she will be in the clinic for a while longer before being sent outside to rehab."
On Rolling Woods Drive, where the soap opera played out, EagleWatchers continue to keep an eye on developments at the nest.
"There have been reports that the male eagle is attempting to bond with a younger female," said Barb Walker, a local volunteer with the Audubon of Florida EagleWatch program.
She doesn't know if that younger bird is the same eagle that almost killed the injured one. "After the fight, there were several suitors," Walker said. "I don't know that it's going real strong for them."
Friday morning, she said, the male bird was alone.
"When eagles are courting, they go through an amazing display," Walker said. "We haven't seen the bonding that we'd see: perching together, beak rubbing. There has not been any courtship display."
Rodney Thrash can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4167.