Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter Birding Part 3: Harley's Release

A couple of years ago, back in 2008, my February was highlighted by the honor of releasing an eagle that I had saved six months earlier, if you would like more info on that story check out these posts from 2008. This January I had the pleasure of attending another important release.
The release was held at the Carpenter Nature Center. This location was chosen because it over looks the St Croix River just north of where it meets the Mississippi. Because of the joining of the two rivers the water typically stays open here which makes it good eagle habitat during the winter.
Many eagles are released at Carpenter during the winter but this release was special. This was the time for Harley to return to the wild. Harley had become a local celebrity because of the details of his rescue.
Harley was injured and dying on the side of the road in northwest Wisconsin when Brian Baladez, a local biker, rode by on his bike. He realized that there was something wrong with him so he stopped grabbed the mature eagle, something you should not do unless you have experience, wrapped it in his leather jacket and strapped it on to his bike. He took the eagle to the Duluth Zoo, with the help of friendly police officers who were very surprised to find a biker with an eagle strapped to his bike, and it eventually was transported to The Raptor Center.
When he was admitted to TRC it was determined that he had a fractured Ulna, a bone in the wing, and was suffering from lead poisoning. Because of the unusual circumstances surrounding his rescue some newspapers in Duluth picked up on the story and thus Harley got his celebrity status and his name. Brian, pictured above, got the honor of releasing Harley back out into the wild. He was fitted with a transmitter so that his moves could be tracked. If you would like to follow Harley out in the wild check out the new TRC blog. I was asked to come out and photograph the happy occasion and several of the pics, including the one above, made it into publication.

12 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Oh, what a wonderful story!! I love it! And your photos capture the delight that everyone was feeling! Have to admit my eyes filled up with tears as I read the story and looked at the photos. Thanks for sharing this one!! Have a lovely week!

Sylvia

LadyFi said...

So much joy and happiness in those photos of freedom for the eagle.

Miki said...

What a fantastic picture of Brian releasing Harley - you got it Just. Right.

Thank you.

awarewriter said...

Wonderful story with a perfect ending. Thanks.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

What a great story.

Sistertex said...

Joyous! Thank you so much for sharing this...very uplifting.

Kathiesbirds said...

What a wonderful story and a wonderful opportunity for you! I am so happy for all concerned! I just saw a PBS special about eagles. I did not know they got lead poisoning from eating carcasses with lead shot in them. They showed an eagle dying from lead poisoning. The scene in the show was horrifying! I'm so glad this story has a happy ending!

Jenn said...

What a heartwarming story. I am happy for Harley.

sweet bay said...

Wonderful stories, both.

KaHolly said...

I love a story with a happy ending and look forward to following Harley's travels! Who know? Perhaps he'll end up in my neck of the woods! Kudos to whoever was responsible to see to it that Brian was involved right to the end! Thanks so much for sharing this story!! ~karen

Coy said...

This is a fantastic story, thanks for sharing!

Arija said...

What a very moving story. Both bird and biker look elated. Great shots.