Here’s an early Valentine’s Day story. For more than a week, a wild bald eagle has shown his affection for a female bald eagle by visiting her twice a day at the Orange County Zoo in California.
Employees at the zoo first noticed the rare bald eagle about a week and a half ago, sitting in a sycamore tree 15 feet away from the enclosure where 6-year-old Olivia resides. Since then the two eagles have become very fond of each other with the male visiting the bird of his dreams each morning and afternoon.
Zoo manager Donald Zeigler reported that the wild eagle lands next to the eagle exhibit and the two birds squawk back and forth to each other.
According to the Los Angeles Times, bald eagles nearly went extinct in California in the 1960s, due in large part to the pesticide DDT. The material caused the birds to lay eggs with extremely thin shells that were impossible to hatch.
It is estimated that there are only a few hundred wild mating pairs in Southern California.
Experts speculate that the male bird was probably having a hard time finding a mate, until he spotted Olivia.
However the romance between Olivia and her beau may be short-lived because the female bald eagle cannot be set free. She is at the zoo because she suffered an injury to her eye in the wild and would not survive on her own.
The other interesting fact about Olivia’s suitor is that he may have been born in the wild. Most of the bald eagles in Southern California have a tag on their wing that shows they were released from a restoration program on the nearby Channel Islands. The eagle visiting Olivia does not have a tag.
The Orange County Zoo posted a video of the wild eagle and ever since bird-enthusiasts, photographers and sightseers have flocked to the park to get a glimpse of the two “love” birds.
Linda Jones, a wildlife photographer who has been visiting the zoo as much as possible over the past couple of weeks summed up the bird romance, “We know this is so rare… You know he’s going to realize she’s in a cage and leave soon. So you know it’s going to end.”
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