Goodbye Phoenix

Recently I have been devastated over the death of a bald eagle eaglet named, Phoenix. I know many say; “how could you be attached to something you never touched or that never touched you.” The truth is she did touch me and I touched her even if it was just through the lens of a video camera at her nest.

A friend introduced me to http:// and that is where I turned into a bald eagle junkie. I watch the two adult eagles “Mom and Dad Hornby” take care of the eggs. They were gentle, caring, and protected their eggs and by the time it the first egg was to hatch I could not tear myself away from the computer screen.

I remember April 29th so well, I had rushed home from an appointment so that I would not miss the hatching of the egg. Then with loud peeps and struggling out of the egg popped the most adorable fuzzy eaglet baby, she was called Phoenix. She was too adorable how could I not to fall in love with her.

As I watched her grow and greedily snatch bits of fish from her parents beaks. I realized that the eagles love their young maybe just as much and I would say more than most human parents do. The are gentle and caring with their young.

Unfortunately the second egg never hatched. The egg was given the name Dudley and stayed around the nest quite awhile. Little Phoenix used it as a security blanket and seemed very attached to it. However one day Dudley perished. Either dad or Phoenix accidently stepped on it. Then mom came by and ate what was left.

As Phoenix continued to grow she went from fuzzy baby, Phoenix, to brown teenage Phoenix. She was a beauty and everyday would do her wingersizes and hop about preparing for her impending fledgling.

There was a rainstorm and after that Phoenix would sneeze, she seemed to be okay. Then on July 14th her breathing was laboured and she didn’t look good . In canada in order to even approach a bald eagles nest the government had to issue permission.

MARS( Mountainaire Avian Rescue) quickly lined up an experienced tree climber who could climb a 120 ft tree and knew about rescuing eagles. The permits were granted and unfortunately they had to wait till July 15th to get a ferry to Hornby Island.

It tore my heart out as I saw Phoenix take her last breath, on July 14th, she died from pneumonia. MARs was there the next morning to take her body and have a necropsy performed to see what had killed our darling bird. It hurt even more to see the profound pain that “Mom Hornby” was in while keeping watch over her baby in from a nearby tree, until Mars removed Phoenix from the nest.
Her grief over her dead baby shredded my heart and if there was any doubt that  animals do not suffer when their young die it would have been washed away with video of her agony over her dead daughter. Animals  feel as much if not more than most humans.

Phoenix now soars above us not in the way we hoped but in an eternal way. Phoenix the bird who rose from the ashes to fly the skies is exactly what our little Phoenix is doing.

It would be fitting if everyone could just donate one dollar to the Hornby Eagle Group through (support) or MARS through
I have donated the proceeds from one of my miniature bald eagle paintings on EBay to HEG and soon I will auction off another to donate to MARS in Phoenix’s name.

It would be wonderful to continue the education and preservation of these beautiful birds. We can learn so much from animals and one is how to be kind to each other.


~ by RL Ryder on July 22, 2010.

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