If you have never heard of "Beauty" this is a story you will never forget
Beauty is an 8 year old American Bald Eagle rescued by Jane Fink Cantwell of the Birds of Prey NW located near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Beauty was rescued two years ago in Alaska after she was found nearly dead and emaciated after a having her top beak shot off and left to die. The resulting damage from the bullet left Beauty with only a small portion of her left upper beak and nearly eliminated the majority of the right side. Consequently, with the inability to consume solid food, she has been sustained by being forcep-fed daily by her handlers at the
Birds of Prey NW is nearing 18 years of operation and is run by the love and dedication of Jane and the Birds of Prey volunteers as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Birds of Prey NW operates under special U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Idaho Department of Fish and Game permits. To help promote raptor awareness and conservation, Jane travels to schools in the western states with trained life birds of prey for purposes of education.
In cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Jane accompanied Beauty who was flown to the north Idaho Birds of Prey NW facility. After the transfer of Beauty to Idaho, Jane began her efforts to assemble the resources and advice from industry pundits in effort to give Beauty a chance at life – an effort, that produced the unanimous ‘expert’ opinion that the bird could not be saved and she be euthanized an option – Janie fiercely refused to accept!
Just a short time thereafter at a public presentation in Boise, Idaho she met Nate Calvin, a Mechanical Engineer who had brought his two daughters to the event to witness the majestic birds first hand and up-close. During her presentation, she presented the other raptor species and finished with a heart-wrenching tale of Beauty’s plight and her subsequent failed efforts to garner the required support to save Beauty. However, Jane had attracted the curiosity and competitive nature of Nate who approached her after the presentation with a comment she had not heard from anyone prior.
“I think I can help you with Beauty if you are interested….” – words that rang a tune to Jane’s ears, thus began the first critical step toward a concentrated effort to help restore the bird she so passionately defended to save – to restore the bird to a form that was befitting of her namesake – BEAUTY!
Nate is the founder of Kinetic Engineering Group, a Boise-based engineering company primarily involved in new product development and design services of various products and industries. Working exclusively in the 3D CAD software package SolidWorks, KEG had no prior experience with animals or prosthetics and bolstered only by the internal drive and enthusiasm to save Beauty and prove the doubting pundits wrong. The process has begun and is progressing well!!
Beauty continues to thrive under the care of her primary caretaker, raptor biologist Jane Cantwell. She enjoys her salmon which is still being hand fed to her daily. As was originally designed, her first beak has been temporarily removed allowing for inspection, adjustment, and improvement. She seems to understand that we are all trying to help her and never protests. Beauty is molting at this time, a natural process of feather renewal. All raptors replace their feathers in the summer months when food stores are plentiful. This period of time requires a diet of excellent nutrition and vitamin supplementation so the new feathers will be strong and durable throughout the following year. It is a time when minimal stress should be placed upon the bird. For that reason the second phase of Beauty’s beak attachment will begin in the fall of 2009.
BEAUTY Update 2009
The second phase will involve specialized X-rays of Beauty’s head, the study of a real bald eagle skull, new surgeons added to her team, and innovative materials reviewed for the final beak. Because of the world wide attention that Beauty has received, many experts and manufacturers of advanced materials have come forward to assist in the restoration of Beauty’s beak. It remains that the species that attempted to take her life with careless bullet, is the same species that is so committed to her future well being.
We are happy to report that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has authorized that Beauty be added to special permits allowing the use of raptors as teachers. Beauty and Jane will continue to lead people towards personal conservation and stewardship of birds of prey, lecturing on the benefits raptors bring to our ecological systems, and how senseless it is to shoot such magnificent aerial predators!