Monday, May 15, 2006

Open wide

I meet with Cindy & Kristen out at the flight center on Friday. They were having fun identifying the eagles who pulled their ID bands off and were putting a newer style ID band back on. They also were doing a good medical going over of the birds. At the flight center right now we have 16 eagles in different stages of rehabilitation. Some are there awaiting placement at a permanent facility and others are awaiting release.

This eagles beak is a little over grown. He wasn't too happy about us holding him down and trimming his beak with a Dremmel tool. Now it's nice and trimmed.

Below are some facts about beaks from Bald Eagle Info.

Beak - The hook at the tip is used for tearing. Behind the hook, the upper mandible, the edge sharp enough to slice tough skin, over laps the lower, creating a scissors effect. A bald eagle's beak is a strong weapon, but is also delicate enough to groom a mate's feathers or feed a small portion of food to a newly hatched chick.

The beak of a female eagle is deeper (distance from top to chin) than the beak of a male.

The beak and talons grow continuously, because they are made of keratin, the same substance as our hair and fingernails. The beak of a captive eagle is not warn down naturally, so must be trimmed annually.


Cindy said...

wow, he does have a large beak- and like all the other eagles, he's in good hands.
I've watched B.Eagles groom their chicks, in my opinion they're one of the best 'parent birds' in the avian world. People could learn alot from birds in that respect :)

robin andrea said...

I had no idea that an eagle's beaks and talons continue to grow, so the workout they get from eating keeps them trimmed. How perfect! I love seeing these up close and personal photos of eagles. I can't imagine ever being so close to that beak.

Cindy P. said...


At one point Dave was a little closer to the beak than he would have liked! He made some comment about needing toilet paper!!


Dave said...

Hey Cindy, that's cindy p's hand you see holding him down. She also did the triming on that large beak.

RD - they naturally trim them in the wild, but in captivity they aren't active enough. We trim more talons then beaks, sometimes just for safety purposes. And as cindy p says, I was getting a little too close a look at it.

CP - He did decide on his own that the session was over.

robin andrea said...

That's very funny, Cindy P. I'm sure it is a little nerve-wracking to be that close. A fine line between close and WHOOPS! way too close.

Dave said...

RD - his head got loose from the blanket and he was in the mood to try and peck on someone. Fortunately Cindy P was free and able to jump in and save the day. Good gal to have around.

Britt said...

Yes Dave, fortunately Cindy saved your day! :)