The Bald Eagle is quite possibly the most iconic, and recognized bird to ever take to the sky. To this day I never fail to find my heart quicken if I have the good fortune come across paths with this magnificent creature. I got to know this character a little better than most while I was in Alberta, Canada. They are opportunist hunters and will take advantage of every opportunity for an easy meal. This made them unpopular on the ranch during calving time.I won’t go into the details suffice to say it was brutal.
Gophers can cause a tremendous amount of damage to pasture lands. Its an age old battle between the rancher and the Gopher. Often they were poisoned and the Eagles would take advantage of an easy meal. Not always fatal, it did render them flightless for a few days. A good friend of mine who had a lifetime of experience with birds of prey would rescue the birds who needed his help. Someone would give him a call to tell him there was an Eagle down and he would come collect it. Now this bird could not fly but he still has two feet, battering ram wings and of course that wicked beak. Your familiar with that old line, “don’t try this at home”. He took them home and fed them bread soaked in milk for three or four day until they regained the ability to fly. It required force feeding a very cranky animal with the ability to do a considerable amount of damage. He had a good crew and it wasn’t long before they could release a health bird to the sky. Today the use of poison has been curtailed in most cases.
To this day I can’t see a bird of prey and not think of my friend and how fortunate I was to call him friend.