On Tuesday, I shared the story of a male turkey vulture with a broken wing whose retrieval I took part in. I talked to Laura from Indiana Raptor Center yesterday, and I'm sorry to say that he had to be euthanized. Unfortunately, the amount of dead tissue in the bone was too great. However, he will have a worthy second life, as he is to be mounted and presented to a local nature center for use in their interpretive programs. He lives in my memory, too. After years of watching these birds as they soared on thermals or congregated around a carcass, I was able to see one up close, to touch it, to watch as it greedily accepted a meal of raw beef. I hope I'm not too sentimental in supposing that I saw some avian form of joy in him as he ripped off pieces of meat, flinging it back and forth and spraying us with the gatorade it had been dipped in. Birdspeed, momentary friend!
Patti cradling the turkey vulture as she places him in a box for a nap.
But I save a bit of news that, while not entirely happy, has a little more sweet than bitter, I think. On Monday, I also got to see a Bald Eagle in the center's flight barn. I had previously been in the barn with Great Horned Owls. This was a totally different experience. Eagles are a LOT louder than owls, and this bird watched me more intently than the owls did. When the center received the eagle, he was in terrible shape, emaciated, with an enlarged heart and liver. Patti and Laura's skills have brought him back to flight-readiness, and though he doesn't have many days ahead of him because of the condition of his liver, he will get to live them in the sunlight, on the shore of whatever nearby lake he chooses. You can't ask for much more than that.
A soon-to-be-released bald eagle in the flight barn.
To have an eagle fly less than four feet away from me and feel the wind off of his wings was a thrill.