Dozens of rare birds escape after storm damages large Logan aviary

Nov 15, 2021, 6:51 PM | Updated: Nov 16, 2021, 8:20 am

LOGAN, Utah — A Logan man’s rare bird collection is now out in the wild. He estimates that more than 100 of them were set free in a recent storm.

The private bird sanctuary is quite large with three ponds.

All of the netting was brought down by heavy snow last month, and now all of the birds that were in here, mostly exotic ducks, are free to come and go as they please.

“These are Nene geese. They’re the state bird of Hawaii,” explained Doug Eames.

His love for birds goes way back. “At 5 or 6, I got a couple pair of pigeons at Christmas time.”

He started the Wings and Webs sanctuary in 1972. He takes care of a number of birds. He even built a granary to keep them fed.

That storm last month did a number on the 4.5 acres that make up his sanctuary.

He said, “It was all down, yep. It had broke right off the cables. It basically came wide open.”

The storm took out a bunch of trees and ripped open the netting.

“That netting used to go over that big thing there with the cables all over. It was just about 80 by 80,” he said.

Doug Eames at his aviary. (KSL TV) A gold pheasant pecks around the Eames aviary. (KSL TV) The big duck pond at the aviary. (KSL TV)

He’s already heard gunshots coming from a pond just behind his yard. A few birds have returned wounded.

“A couple little wood ducks and one little mandarin. They’ve made it back home but I know that’s what had happened,” Eames said. “They’d been hit with the little pellets, you know.”

They did not survive and at almost 89 years old, he said there’s not much he can do. “Grandma says I was getting too old to rebuild, haha.”

Now it’s a matter of waiting and hoping for the best, seeing which ones will come back. He believes many will be lost to hunters.

“And they’re so tame from being in here,” he lamented. “They’re used to people walking right around them.”

The largest pond on the property has always been open and the enclosed area closest to the Eaves’ home survived the storm.

Eames said the gunshots he heard in the area would have been within city limits where hunting is not allowed.

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Dozens of rare birds escape after storm damages large Logan aviary