• 36°

Eagle caper won't fly

As we walk briskly through the park, my friend and I come upon the eagles who call this park home. They have a fairly large cage and a big perch in which they are usually found. I tell her each day when we stop to tell them good morning, that it just breaks my heart to see two magnificent creatures in captivity. When you think of an eagle, you imagine them soaring through the skies with wing spans of about 6 or 7 feet. Well, I do anyway.
So I tell my friend, “Here is the plan.”
She is like, “What plan?”
“The caper,” I say.
“What caper?” she asks.
“Well, this is what I am thinking. We will sneak in here after hours and make an escape for the eagles. We will set them free.”
“Tell me you are not serious.”
“Well, I sort of am!”
She exclaims, “Don’t you know we could probably go to jail for something like that?”
“Yes, I guess you are right,” I tell her, while in the back of mind still planning a caper.
A few weeks later, a man stops by to buy some fresh eggs from me. I notice he is wearing what looks like an official Wildlife and Fishery shirt. He tells me he works across the street at the park. I ask if he is with the Wildlife and Fishery Department. He explains that he works with the Nature Center located in Dan Nicholas park.
“Oh,” I say. “Well, let me ask you this: Do you think that it is fair to keep those eagles caged up? I mean, don’t you think they should be able to soar around the blue skies like they were meant to do?”
He looks at me, and simply says, “If they were set free, they would die.” He explains that one of them, the male, was shocked in some utility lines and lost part of his wing, so he could not soar very well. The female, he goes on to explain, was hit by an automobile, and although she has all her parts she would not be able to soar, either.
He said, “So you see, they are actually in a very good environment. They are fed very well, and are well taken care of.”
I tell him, “I am sorry, I did not mean to come across as some wild, raging animal activist or something. I did not know the circumstances.”
So I misjudged the park for keeping these beautiful birds in captivity.
You see, they are beautiful, and you would never know by looking at them that anything was amiss. I probably will still be saddened everytime I look at them in that cage, not because they are held captive but because now I know that they cannot soar the way God meant them to. And I will probably always be reminded still each time I look at them of all the scriptures in the Bible that refer to eagle’s wings, how majestic they are, how swift they are in flight.
But, alas, I will call off the caper and let the eagles live out their lives in the park where they are well taken care of. I will not be so quick to judge the next time I see an animal in captivity at a respectable park.
And this brought to my mind, I wonder if that man was thinking while I went to get his fresh eggs, well look at her she has her chickens cooped up in a chicken run, why doesn’t she let them run free? And then I would have to explain that I do let them out every evening for a couple of hours after my husband is home to help me keep an eye out for hawks and other predators, and they usually get to play out of the pen all day on the weekends. So you see, the simple truth of the matter is, I keep my birds caged up for the same reason the park has theirs in a cage. It is for their own protection.
And now for a few eagle facts you may enjoy.
Eagles are thought to mate for life; however if one of the pair dies the other will take a new mate. They are said to live for 30 years in the wild and as many as 50 years in captivity. The male eagle has a wing span of about 6-7 feet while the female can have a wingspan of up to 8 feet. The males generally measure 3 feet from head to tail and weigh in at about 7-10 pounds while the female is usually larger and can weigh as much as 14 pounds. Their eyesight is 5-6 times sharper than a human. They can soar 20-60 mph during normal flight and dive at a speed of 100 mph.
These facts were obtained from www.eaglefest.org.
• • •
Neta Monroe is a member of the Salisbury Scribblers.

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