Sunday, September 26, 2010

A beautiful eagle release...............

One of the golden eagles that had come in from around Moab, Utah earlier this year was finally released. We took her back that way, to the Arches National Park where we had released another eagle several weeks ago. This female actually came from an area called LaSall, but as far as an eagle flies, it was close enough and it gave a lot of people, who would never see something like this, an opportunity to witness and eagle close-up and to see her fly free again.
A gentleman that I met during the other release there, was the one who let this female go.

His name is Bill Sloan and he works for the Parks Department as a biologist, I believe. Very nice and knowledgeable man. Thanks to Nick Eason for some of the pictures and I did manage to take some myself. It was a beautiful day for a release. The eagle flew and flew, just perfect around those beautiful red cliffs that Arches is known worldwide for. The ravens, now known from the previous release, did show up again, but that didn't stop the eagle, she just kept circling and flying.

I got a phone call from one of the Parks people there for the release, and I guess she had hung around longer than we did. She said about an hour later, the female came back, but this time, she had a friend with her, a male, just a year or two older than her! How wonderful.
This is what makes our work worthwhile.

We also took in, from the vet's office, an Eared Grebe. Cute little bird, found in a parking lot of a high school about 75 miles from Price. Some kids were chasing her and kicking her......rotten little brats! A lady saw this and came to her aid.
These types of birds are helpless on land, appearing to have a broken leg, but the truth is, they cannot function on land well at all. They are make soley for water. They move (migrate) at night and at times, will 'land' on pavement, usually after a rain storm when it's wet and lights from above, or even a bright moon, may make the wet ground look like water. They will land and then they are in trouble. Usually, if they have received no injury from hitting the hard ground, which they need to be examined to determine that, they can be put on a large body of water and then, they can take off when they are ready. They need between 100-150 feet to do this, much like an airplane taking off.
We are fortunate to see a few species of Grebe's here in Utah and their courtship dance rivals the Cranes in beauty. They are a very secretive bird, ususally diving when they see or hear people or danger of any kind.
After I picked her up from my vet's office and determined she was not injured, I drove her to a nearby pond and released her. I've included those pictures. During the examination, she did what Grebes do, and darted that long neck at me and bit my nose. I couldn't help but giggle, but it did hurt. This is how they protect themselves, darting with that sharp beak at their attackers face. Here I was examining her with no extra hands to help and trying to control that wiggly body and look through that heavy plumage that seabirds have and ZAP....she got me and I still have the mark to prove it!

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Feathered brothers and sisters, you came to us broken and as you bled…….we saw you desperate, dehydrated, desiccated, diseased, distressed, emaciated, famished, frayed, frightened, helpless, hungry, ragged, ravenous, shaken, shocked, shot, sickly, stressed, stunned, tattered, thirsty, traumatized, torn, weary and wounded. Defiantly, you stood us off with your last breath as we tried to tend to you. We saw you come in as cute, naked, fuzzy, cuddly youth, as mischievous, defiant adolescents, as fierce, regal rulers of the sky and as cunning, maimed elders whose time on earth was almost done. You endeared yourselves to us, bit us, charmed us, footed us, delighted us, hissed at us, talked to us, mantled at us, and graced us with your presence.

Some of you mended and were able to go on your way, never looking back. Some of you were injured in ways that prevented you from going, so you stayed with us to teach us…….And we came to love you. Others were too far gone, and you went home - where you fly free from pain with the Great One. All of you have touched us, and we are changed because of you.

used with permission by Arlene Powers