Wake up early. It’s going to be humid, raining, windy, or I’m wearing a helmet, so don’t bother to do anything with your hair. Throw on a bandana… you hang around Rob too much and now you live in bandanas too. Brush my teeth.
Oh breakfast… I should eat something if I have time. Yogurt. Yes.
Today I’m zip lining. Grab my gloves to protect my hands. Check the lines… there could always be something where it shouldnt be.
… like that eagle.
If you had the morning tour, you checked the zip lines. A tree branch on a line could be a disaster later. But we never actually found anything. Except today.
There was an injured eagle at the base of one of the ground lines, in the middle of the walkway, missing an eye. Naturally I couldn’t leave it there, my guests would lose it… and good luck explaining to any children that “Mr. Eagle isn’t hurt… no… that’s a fish’s eye hanging out of his skull.”
A trivia fact about me is that I grew up around birds. I’ve handed everything from hawks to hummingbirds to pheasants and emus. But never have I dealt with the metaphorical flying razor blades that is an eagle. So how does one catch an eagle? A wild eagle?
The moment you grab it it’s going to be pissed. And there two points to avoid: their bone-crushing beak and their dagger talons (but mostly the talons).
Well, he was missing an eye, so suddenly his near 360* vision is halved… just stay on his bad side and be quiet.
As for the talons? It can’t be much different than handling brazo stags, the majestic two-foot roosters used in fighting rings that know EXACTLY where your eyes and jugular are and won’t hesitate to kill with this knowledge… pin the head, pin the hocks.
So, sticking to the first step, I snuck up behind it with a canvas sheet ready to blind its good eye and keep it calm. Suddenly, as I placed each step delicately, I was standing a foot away from an apex predator, and I knew that the moment the towel went over this bird I could not hesitate or it might break free and fly away… or turn on me.
But it went all so fluidly. The towel went up, and the bird was in my arms with its head pinned against my chest and forearm and its hocks tightly pinned on my waist. I was holding a wild eagle that I caught.
But I failed to think of an important element: what the hell am I going to do with it now?
Jared, our boss, was doing “Jared things” around the compound when I approached him quietly.
“Jared…” my voice was nervous as he slowly turned around. “What do I do with this?”
“Oh jesus!” He nearly jumped out of his skin and grabbed his camera.
“Where did you – what – look at those talons…”
You’re not helping my obvious nervousness Jared… this thing xan destroy my arms in a second if it wants to. But do get a picture… it is pretty cool. I moved the canvas bag and my grip to expose its legs.
Jared gave me a look of utter confusion, like I was batshit crazy and kinda amazing at the same time. He called Fish and Game who agreed to pick up thr bird, free of charge, as soon as they could. And it was a relief to see him no longer suffering.
But I mean… the average person has to fix a jammed printer or take a terrible customer service call. Meanwhile, I’m catching eagles before work.