This baby golden eagle survived the impossible!
His incredible story began June 1, when Kent Keller, a volunteer who documents eagles, placed a band on the bird in its nest at Lake Mountain, near Salt Lake City.
Three weeks later, the Dump Fire erupted, scorching more than 5,500 acres south of Salt Lake City and west of Utah Lake.
Keller returned in late June to look for the nest, built on the edge of the cliff, thinking he would recover the band from a deceased animal. The nest was gone, but to his astonishment, Keller spotted legs and talons near a scorched juniper below.
The baby eagle was still alive, although all of his feathers, even on his head, were charred. He also suffered burns to the feet and around his beak.
“He had enough courage to jump from that nest and try to save himself anyway,” said Keller, 56, who describes himself as an amateur ornithologist. “He is a real fighter.”
The fall was about 25 feet, and the eagle probably walked back to the base of the cliff after rolling another 100 feet, said Keller.
The bird remained in the area for several days while Keller, who is authorized to band raptors, sought permission from federal and state authorities to obtain care for him.
With permission granted, the baby eagle was taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah in Ogden, where it is adding to its shrunken five pound frame and regaining the ferocity that is the species hallmark.
The staff there have dubbed the survivor “Phoenix” – a reference to the mythical creature that is reborn from the ashes.
The tales of tragedy surrounding the recent wildfires in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, seem unending and now there may be more tragedy as parts of Colorado have received flash flood warnings, due to heavy rainstorms for the past five days.
So it seemed important to share this uplifting story of a feisty golden eagle, with a very strong survival instinct. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: screenshot from KTSU
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