Mule the Eagle

Bald Eagles are HUGE. Like BIG. Way, way bigger than a loaf of bread for example. And really wild looking. No domestic affection in those eyes; just vast oceans and cold mountains.
But I jump ahead.
We returned to O.W.L for a tour and we were in for a surprise as they were going to release a Bald Eagle that had been injured several months ago. The couple who had brought the eagles in were there for the release and filled us in on the story of how the eagles came to be at the rehab centre. Two male eagles had been fighting and, both being impaled by the other's talons, tumbled out of a tree and fell, about thirty feet to the ground into a puddle! There they stayed, impaled in togetherness until folks from the O.W.L society arrived. It took five adults over an hour to pull them apart; that's how serious the eagles were. I guess there is no messing around when you are fighting over territory. With his puncture wounds healed, "Mule" ( as in stubborn-as-a ) was about to be released.
Here is a pic of him getting his last weight measurements. (Hubby took pics from the hall so as not to stress him further). Mule was very calm, "Not like some", the fellow holding him said. "Some fight all the time, from start 'til finish".



The scaly knobs on his feet are called spicules (not to be confused with spiracles! Geek snort.) They help keep a good grip on slippery fish.The back talon is called the hallux.

Here he is, moments away from freedom. The family who brought the bird in is up there taking their farewell photos. They were really nice folks and those eagles were damn lucky they fell in their back yard.



What can one say in moments like these?