Today I watched in awe as Vickie Joseph, an avian veterinarian, head of the California Foundation for Birds of Prey, and herself a tiny person, deftly netted a huge juvenile bald eagle that had been rehabilitated at the CFBP. She quickly subdued it without injury to her or the eagle, placed it into a huge animal crate, and turned it over to members of the Humboldt County Wildlife Association who will release the bird later today when they arrive at the Bear Valley Refuge in the Klamath Basin where huge numbers of bald eagles congregate. Since bald eagles do congregate in large colonies, a juvenile bird newly introduced, will be quickly absorbed into the group and thrive. Golden eagles on the other hand, are lone creatures and a juvenile bird who is injured and taken in by the CFBP, must be trained to survive for up to two years before it can be released back into the wild.
In this photo, the eagle is restrained by Dr.Joseph as the Humboldt County Wildlife representative controls the bird’s head to keep it from biting.
From the time we entered the flight chamber to the time the Humboldt representatives walked away with the crate containing the eagle, a mere 5 minutes, 11 seconds had elapsed. It all happened so fast I was unable to focus the camera for the actual capture but I am including three shots that I took in a span of three seconds despite their fuzziness because I think they are fascinating; the first shows the eagle taking off, the second as he flies into the net, and the third, as the eagle is fully enclosed in the net.