Injured eagle to receive artificial replacement beak
Sunday, May 04 2008 @ 11:06 PM EDT
Contributed by: terrytvgal
By Nicholas K. Geranios
Associated Press writer
May 3, 2008
"Give me an hour with a third or sixth grader and they will never shoot a raptor." - Jane Fink Cantwell
ST. MARIES, Idaho — The eagle is named Beauty, although she is anything but.
Beauty's beak was partially shot off several years ago, leaving her with a stump that is useless for hunting food. A team of volunteers is working to attach an artificial beak to the disfigured bird, in an effort to keep her alive.
"For Beauty it's like using only one chopstick to eat. It can't be done" said biologist Jane Fink Cantwell, who operates a raptor recovery center in this Idaho Panhandle town. "She has trouble drinking. She can't preen her feathers. That's all about to change."
Cantwell has spent the past two years assembling a team to design and build an artificial beak for Beauty, and it is due to be attached this month. With the beak, the 7-year-old bald eagle could live to the age of 50, although not in the wild.
"She could not survive in the wild without human intervention," Cantwell said.
The 15-pound female eagle was found in 2005 scrounging for food and slowly starving to death at a Dutch Harbor, Alaska, landfill. Most of her curved upper beak had been shot away, leaving her tongue and sinuses exposed, and she could not clutch or tear at food.
Beauty was taken to a bird recovery center in Anchorage, Alaska, where she was hand-fed for two years while her caretakers waited in vain for a new beak to grow.
"They had exhausted their resources and she would likely be euthanized," Cantwell said.
After getting complicated permits from the federal government, Beauty was taken in 2007 to Cantwell's Birds of Prey Northwest ranch near St. Maries, Idaho, about 50 miles southeast of Spokane.
Shortly after, Cantwell was speaking in Boise, where Nate Calvin heard the story of Beauty. Calvin, a mechanical engineer, approached her afterward and offered to design an artificial beak.
To read the rest of this story and see photographs of Beauty, please visit the link below: