Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 31

Bald Eagle Release

Bald Eagle Release by Atlantic Veterinary College (Photo courtesy of Atlantic Veterinarian College, PEI)

Day 31 was one of the most amazing days on my motorcycle road trip. I had the opportunity to watch two bald eagles being released by the Atlantic Veterinary College on Prince Edward Island.

The bald eagles were found about two weeks ago, in two different parts of the island. They were both believed to have been injured in a fight with their prey. Possibly a fox. Both bald eagles were brought to the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island for care. After about two weeks, the bald eagles were both ready to be released back into the wild.

Nancy, my sister-in-law, had once comment to the director of public relations for the Atlantic Veterinary College that she loved to watch bald eagles soaring over her cottage. The director contacted Nancy asking if she would be interested in having the eagles released at her cottage. Of course she said “yes.” And so began the much anticipated day when the two bald eagles would be released at her cottage in North Granville. There were lots of spectators on hand for the event, including me and my family.

 


 

The two bald eagles were transported to Nancy’s cottage in animal kennels, in the back of an Atlantic Fish and Game vehicle. The kennels were packed with blankets and shredded paper to keep the eagles from hurting themselves. Even then, one of the eagles scratched his forehead and required a little medical attention. I’ve seen eagles before, but soaring high over our cottage. This was the first time I saw an eagle so close that I could stare into its eyes.

Now I understand why people say the bald eagle is such a majestic bird. It’s truly a beautiful bird. Its size, wing span, claws and beak made me think back to the movie Jurassic Park. I realized how much damage a large raptor could do to its prey. Thankfully, I wasn’t the prey. Probably the most amazing thing was staring into the eagle’s eyes. He had a primitive, unblinking and unwavering stare. It was strange staring eye-to-eye with an eagle. I kept wondering what he was thinking. He just stared into my eyes, as if to see who would flinch first. I must admit, it was me.

The veterinarian held the eagle to allow a few minutes for photographs, including one with myself. Although the eagle didn’t look afraid, and didn’t make much of an effort to break free, the veterinarian said the eagle was more afraid of us than we were of him. With the photo session done, the veterinarian positioned everyone at a reasonable distance and let the eagle go. It was amazing to see the eagle’s wing span, which had to be over 6 feet, and the slow pumping of his wings as he took flight. I felt very lucky, and privileged to see an eagle in flight from such a close distance. It was truly a beautiful sight.

Knowing that the bald eagle is endangered in many areas of the country, particularly due to human encroachment, I sure hope that people like Dr. Marion Desmarchelier of the Atlantic Veterinary College continue their effort to save these gorgeous birds for future generations to see.

 

Road Trip – Previous and Next Day Posts

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Days 28 to 30

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Days 32 to 37

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 1

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