Eagle’s beak was dangerously close to my face

From our October 2022 issue

By Jeanette Armella – Prince George, B.C.

In January 2017, after feeding fat and bread to my birds – ravens, magpies, and eagles – I looked up the road to the corner and saw a commotion. As I got closer, I saw that it was an injured Golden Eagle with one wing dragging on the snow.

I went back and got a blanket and proceeded to see if I could capture the poor creature. Coyotes could be heard in the field and I knew this fellow would soon be a goner. I didn’t have time to call anyone to help. I had a large bird cage at home, ready for him.

Well, with one wing, he was determined to get away from me, so off we went as he flapped his way through a fence into the field. The fence was quite narrow, and I worked my way through. Danged if I could get close enough to throw the blanket over him.

Chased though fences

Across we went, then through another fence, this one reinforced to keep a calf from going through. He got through and I was tangled up, but finally wrestled through.

I chased him through the bush and around some trees and through another fence and back to the field. I almost had him, he was getting tired by this time, and I thought that I might pass out from exhaustion. The snow being a foot deep wasn’t helping. Oh, no! There he went through yet another fence.

I got through and finally managed to throw my blanket over him. I wrapped him snuggly, but his beak was dangerously close to my face. By this time, I didn’t think I would make it; I was gasping for air and really tired.

With a lot of difficulty, carrying this big bird, I got to a fence but wondered how to get through one of those squares holding it? Well, I wriggled, got stuck, hooked on some wire, and with sheer determination, we got through. The trek was really hard now, but I couldn’t give up after getting this far.

Vice-like power

The last fence was really difficult. I contemplated letting him go, but uh-uh. I was halfway through this square when I lost my grip on the blanket and felt a vice go through the flesh on my hand in two places. Skewered!

I can’t even describe the power of an eagle’s talons. I now had to finish working through the fence, then hike the rest of the way home.

The cage I had was too small, but I worked him into it and at the same time tried to pry his claws loose. I had to literally pull really hard to extract them. With a bleeding hand, I went and got him a piece of meat and then tried to disinfect my punctures.

I phoned around trying to find someone to take him and was finally put on to a lady who took injured birds to a place in Vancouver. She didn’t live far from me, so I took the eagle and cage to her. I hope he was mended and able to fly again.

My daughter Debbie and I went to the emergency to see whether I could have contracted something from my claw holes. I guess because of exhaustion, I experienced memory lapses, and they decided to keep me overnight. Upon hearing my story, all the doctors came to see me.

I turned out okay, but two years later, I still had a sore, itchy area where one of the talons went through.

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