Free Flying

With the recent fire scares and nerve-wracking weather, we haven’t strayed too far from home.

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Passed out puppy

We’ve been busy getting ready for the holidays — shopping for gifts and figuring out how to send things.

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Destroyed the RV getting things ready!

Our weekend was filled with running errands and helping out in the park. The local garden club decorated a few things in the park, making for some pretty, festive displays.

We did take a little time out of our errands to experience something a bit unique: a golden eagle release.

Since I volunteer with Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, they approached me about covering the release for the paper. And since my writing goals center around conservation and wildlife topics, I was ecstatic at the chance to cover it — not to mention the fact that I’d get to see a live release!

Andy came with, and we drove a little more than an hour south, near the border, to the release site.

We hiked a short distance to the top of a ridge where the eagle would get better lift.

Then the moment was upon us.

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The small group grew silent with anticipation. The cage door opened, and with little coaxing, he stepped into the free world.

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He was big — larger than I had imagined. And beautiful. After briefly glancing around, he took off for a short distance to perch on a nearby rock.

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Andy captured me taking photos for the newspaper.

If you notice on the hill behind him, there is a patch of brown. Local tales say that the Native Americans who originally inhabited the area would set fire to the hill in the shape of an eagle. They did this so regularly that a permanent eagle-like shape remains in the hillside. Seems like the perfect place for a release, right?

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He perched on the rock for a while, giving me ample time to get some good photos. We could almost see the moment when he made the decision to take flight for real this time.

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His powerful wings beat the air, and he took off in graceful flight.

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Soaring over the treetops, toward the valley below, he caught thermals to rise higher and higher into the sky — until finally, he was only a dark speck.

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I learned that they became a protected species in 1962, under the U.S. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. They are one of the largest birds in North America and are so well-known and revered that they are the most common official national animal in the world. How cool is that???

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It was a rewarding experience for everyone — seeing the majesty, power, and grace of such a beautiful bird of prey was amazing.

Afterwards, we took a tour around the property, where we learned more about organic and self-sustainable farming. It gave us some excellent ideas for our future plot of land!

The day was filled with inspiration, and I am so happy I was able to share it with Andy.

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