Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Now the rest of the story.................

Regarding two postings back and the story of the eagle found hanging in a tree. Most of this post will be pictures.
Keith Cauley, a gentleman I became acquainted with from another eagle situation in his area, stumbled upon another Golden eagle in trouble. This guy is a professional wildlife photographer, so he's out and about everyday in very remote areas taking photo's.
He has found 3 or 4 now, that without him, surely would have died. This latest one was hanging upside down in a large Cottonwood tree. Once he discovered her, he notified the Division of Wildlife Resources. Thank God the officers down his way are wonderful guys, responding quickly. The only way to get her down was to shoot the branch she was attached to and hope it would break and she would fall. Casey Olsen, with the Division did just that. What a shot!
They caught her in a blanket they had ready. Then they called me and I suggested we needed to examine her as we had no idea if she had any injuries and just releasing her would be irresponsible.

Through a series of transporters, including us, we got her back to Price and she had an injury, possibly a break in her left wing and she had a bad abrasion on her right ankle, probably from trying to free herself, clear down to the bone. She was sore and had pain reactions in both legs and shoulders. We took her in and got x-rays and confirmed a break in a very tiny bone in the wrist area of that left wing. Time would tell if it would cause her to be non-releasable.
We also started working on healing the wound on her leg.
She was not happy about her stay with us, flailing herself again the walls in her enclosure. This wasn't good. We had to keep her as still as possible for that bone to heal correctly. We moved her to a larger enclosure, the opposite of what I would normally do, but she was the exception, not the rule. She did the same thing in the larger enclosure, just not as often. We had her on pain medication, but that didn't slow her down one bit!

Her leg wound was healing nicely, so after a couple of weeks, I moved her out into the eagle flight with two other Golden eagles. Man oh man, she went after the youngest eagle, Canyon.
We broke that up and make sure we were watching them on remote TV. This happened a couple of times, but Canyon held her own. I couldn't put her back in the smaller enclosure since she was limiting her chances of that wing healing well hitting the walls the way she was.
Pretty soon she was up on the perches and getting around very well. We had to take the opportunity and get her released, so at the first chance, I called Keith and asked him if he would like to release her.

We drove out to Monticello and he did just that.

He and his wife Dee were there along with two other people, friends of theirs.

Dee took the photo's while Keith did the toss. Perfect; off she flew and gained lift and higher and higher she went, then another eagle flew up to meet her; as maybe a greeting "hey, where have you been?" The flew together, circling and gaining more height. It was just beautiful. Could this have been a mate? Maybe. It couldn't have been any better. We finally lost sight of them.
The next day, Keith was back out there, taking more photographs and there she was. Easy to spot because of her band. Keith got a couple of great photo's of her back out there, doing exactly what she was meant to do !

This is why I do what I do!


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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