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Should this Eagle Fly Free?

Posted by on 11/29/2012

Photo: Bald Eagle with handler. Tail feathers are a little ragged but nice pic

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Since beginning to work with raptors we've been posting images of all birds of prey. The image above evoked some interesting responses on our Facebook fan page today. I thought I'd share the thread on our blog.

Johanna Nydén, Amy K Hays, Noelle Sellars and 83 others like this.

Freedom Lives These birds shouldn't have "handlers" for crissakes. This bird looks sick! It should be FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! humans are so assuming, its disgusting.
4 hours ago Like

James Warner Do you have any idea the regulations regarding Bald Eagles in captivity? It has to a non-releasable bird, meaning it would die without human intervention. Hence why the bird looks sick. Because it probably is. The human handling this bird isn't assuming ownership, it's assuming responsibility for something that was more than likely caused by another human. I agree, it should be free, but when it's not possible, would you expect the person to not help, as the bird shouldn't have a handler, and should be free? Really?
4 hours ago Like 1

Joe Krathwohl People that want everything to be "free" are hypocrites. Where is the outcry against windfarms for all the bald eagles and countless other birds they kill? Where is the outcry for over-fishing which takes frood from bald eagles? Where is the outcry against the USFWS who prefers that eagles be killed rather than kept by falconers who cherish these birds as gods? In this day and age, captivity is 100% safer than the wild. Responsible captivity is the only ark, and in the case of eagles only advanced experienced trainers are allowed to have permits for them. Yet on Facebook armchair quarterback `seems to feel the right to insult them.
4 hours ago Like 1

Mitalwyn Walking Bear The bird could be free. Free to die probably. How about living and cared for. Does that count for anything?
4 hours ago Like 2 Thank you James Warner & Joe Krthwohl. We appreciate your comments Mitalwyn Walking Bear & Freedom Lives and I would like to clarify James & Joe's positions.

We feel to take a bird like a Scarlet macaw that would normally fly 50 miles a day in the wild in search of food but we keep the bird in a 12 square-foot enclosure 20 hours a day is not the birds best interest. That's why we spent hours daily helping our customers better
understand how to create environments within a birds living space to help Increase a birds quality of life.

I've worked with and interacted with thousands of parrots and their owners over the years and although I run across many "well behaved" birds it's very rare to find a well "trained" parrot. Raptors are taught to know exactly what to do when the flying free at 1200 
feet and ready to dive at 200 miles an hour to acquire prey. Any raptor handler will tell you that they work with their birds seven days a week. Conversely hundreds of pet birds are lost daily and their owners are unable to get them down from a tree.

A recent study just released indicated 96% of all dogs entering rescues had no obedience training whatsoever. There's no statistics that I'm able to find for birds but I'm certain the same percentage holds true for our feathered companions. If pet bird owners worked 
as diligently as raptor handlers, bird rescues would empty not overflowing as they are today.

Anyone with a credit card, wallet full of cash or check book can buy a bird or parrot. Falconry which I use as a blanket term to cover the handling of Falcons, Hawks, Eagles, Owls and so forth requires a two-year apprenticeship and licensing at the state and federal 
level. Bald and Golden Eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act which requires a license from the US Sec. of the Interior.

From Wikipedia

More than 100,000 bald eagles were killed in Alaska from 1917 to 1953. Public awareness arose during this time, and many groups and individuals dedicated to make the conservation of eagles a national issue 

In the 1960s, the declination of these birds from New York increased due to the distribution of pesticides and habitat destruction. In 1976, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) formed a restoration program called the hacking technique. The 
purpose of this technique is to take eaglets (hacking) from wild nests and transfer them to a region where they are raised in artificial nests.[28] The young birds were placed on an artificial nesting platform for several weeks. The birds lived in cages once their feathers 
became fully developed. In addition, they were fed and watched by human caretakers. Around 12 to13 weeks old, the eaglets were tested for their flying ability. In order to monitor the birds, a small radio transmitters were placed on the birds back. DEC assisted with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Cornell University to release 23 successful young eagles. The young eagles learned how to hunt and feed on their own without any parental care. 

Once they were raised and matured, they were released back to where they were raised from and in hopes of becoming breeding birds. The program was a success across the nation for 13 years. In 1989, the program ended due to an observation made by state biologists. It was observed that the population of released birds was increasing in the New York state reproducing successfully. Due to the Environmental Quality Bond act and the Environmental Protection Fund, these birds are growing at a steady rate by taking advantage of the open land and habitats

End Wikipedia

In this case Freedom, I have to agree with James When you see a picture like the bald eagle and handler above it's important to note that you'll see no tether (creance in falconry terms) which means that bird is free to fly wherever he chooses but he chooses to return the glove the handler because he knows he will see receive the best care possible.:-)
2 hours ago Edited Like

UNESCO Culture Sector - Intangible Heritage - 2003 Convention :
Website of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
2 hours ago Like Remove Preview

Joe Krathwohl We free fly all our birds, and for someone to insult a person who has taken the years and personal sacrifice to gain the expertise needed to create a relationship with an eagle in which the bird will choose to fly to him, is pretty low. After 36 years ...See More
2 hours ago Like 2

Joe Krathwohl ...and yes, we fly our macaws and cockatoos the same as any other bird.
2 hours ago Like
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