This is another brilliant video from Martin of the South West Wildlife Foundation of Utah (and thanks to his wife for the filming). Martin has almost 50 years experience in rescuing birds of prey and therefore he knows the illnesses, hazards, injuries and struggles that they face in wild but in a human world. He received a call to rescue this bald eagle. An eagle that would not quit over months of rehabilitation by Martin. He said that the bird had not eaten for 2-3 weeks and had been poisoned by lead. He was surprised that the eagle survived. On numerous occasions over the many years he has been rescuing eagles and other birds of prey, under these circumstances the birds die. They can be breathing but their bodies are programmed to die notwithstanding all the best possible care and feeding that can be delivered. The battle for life had been lost. In this instance, this magnificent bird survived against all the odds.
Martin is happy when his birds of prey become hostile and difficult again, when the bird doesn’t like him anymore. This is because when they are apparently tame and pliable they are invariably very ill. Anybody who encounters an eagle who is tame or appears to be tame should call for help and not try and deal with the animal themselves because they can be badly hurt.
Martin’s wife does the filming. In this instance he did not want the filming to take place for the first 11 days of rehabilitation because he did not want to show the eagle dead. I believe that this is out of respect for the animal. He hates to see this. And if this eagle had been unable to be returned to the wild he would have had to euthanise it under the law. This would have been an incredibly difficult moment for him. You can see that can’t you? You struggle with all your skills, resilience and commitment to make an eagle survive starvation and a poison only to have to kill the animal under the law because he’s too weak to survive in the wild. It didn’t happen that way for which I am sure Martin is eternally grateful. You can feel his love for the animals.
When he releases the birds he does it with a bit of a fanfare and gets the public to come around and help him. He wants them to be involved. This is an educational process. It helps to protect the birds going forwards. And he needs the help of the public to run his sanctuary and rehabilitation facility. He needs all kinds of people to help him and perhaps the most important people are those who are skilled in fundraising. This is a massive operation with huge challenges and he can’t do it alone but he can do something with nobody else can achieve to the same extent: rehabilitate birds of prey with such tenderness and beauty.