Our Flight Center is located on Camp Carrol, an Alaska Army National Guard base. It was built right after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. It is the last step for large birds under rehabilitation before they are released or placed at another facility.
The Flight Center is very large. It's meant for the birds to practice their flying and hunting technique before they are released. It's the next best thing to being back in the wild. It's isolated, it's large, it has little human contact, lots of salmon (for eagles) and they get to hang out with other birds. It's just enclosed.
We had 3 eagles ready for transport to the flight center for about a week now. But because of my cold I was unable to transport any of them until today. Kristen, the Flight Center Manager, transported BE 06-02 on Friday.
The temperatures are going up. I think we reached 31°F today. I placed the two eagles in the pen Kristin wanted them in. I always go through the 3 pens there just to make sure everything is OK. The snowy owl is progressing great. I need to ask Cindy on Monday when it'll be released. I know it won't be too long off. Right now it's in a pen by itself.
The flighted pen has 6 eagles in it. And boy howdy, it has some fliers in it. They are not bashful about showing off their stuff either. They fly from one end to the other or they fly 3/4 of the way and grab a hold of the fish net ceiling and flip themselves around and continue on. I'm sure there will be some releases out of there as soon as spring pops out.
The last pen is for the non-fliers. They just came from the clinic and need to build their strength up. Or they are permanently injured and are awaiting placement at a permanent facility. They need the room to stretch and spend time with their own kind. There's group feedings. The salmon strips are placed around and they can come claim their own.
As I looked around the last pen, there was one eagle huddled into a corner and shivering. Being warmer than what it has been in a while, I decided to check her out a little closer. She didn't respond until I got within 3 feet and then she took a defensive stance. It wasn't real threatening, so I called Cindy on my cell. She works long enough hours as our rehab director as it is and I am bothering her at home, twice today. As I thought, she wanted BE 06-02 taken back to the clinic.
So I covered and blanketed 02 and placed her in a kennel and off we go back to the clinic. On the way to the flight center, the 2 eagles were raising Cain. Bouncing and jumping in their kennels, I don't think they liked my classic rock music. 02 is an immature female that was injured while feeding on a whale carcasse that had washed ashore. She was quiet on the way back though. I don't know if it was the Crosby, Stills and Nash, (I never liked when Neil Young played with them) or she just felt warm again.
I set her up in a inside mew with fresh water and a pan of salmon. She ran out of the kennel and perched right away. She gave me a look like "AH, this is much better".
Cindy will check 02 out real thorough tomorrow to find out what's going on. It might be that she just needs a little longer r&r. I'll keep you updated.