August 22, 2008
The last six days Cordi and I were visited by our friend Elizabeth Schoultz from New York. She was out here to see Widow fly and to observe the other eagles being handled. We flew Widow each day with little success. She spent most of her time sitting on the side of a hill. Her weight was down slightly; I had lowered it on purpose because I wanted her to be more focused on me. Since I thought she might be too hungry, hence her unwillingness to fly, I raised her weight back up to over 9lbs. This, however, did little as far as her flying. I still think her lack of desire to soar is due to the large number of new feathers coming in that are still heavy in blood. Widow now has three primaries on each wing and four tail feathers all coming in at the same time and it stands to reason they could be tender. I have said this before, but I have watched many eagles going in on jacks very carefully, making sure they dont hit their feathers while they are in blood.
So my plan was to give her some days off and hope that they grew enough that she would be willing to take to the air once again. On Thursday we went up to the hill and the wind was blowing quite hard. I took a reading with my wind speed instrument and it read 43mph; that is stronger than I have ever flown any bird in. We could barely open the truck doors. I launched Widow off my fist out over the cliff edge and she went into a full tuck with her wings just to stay near us. Widow had little trouble flying in the strong wind but, for us, it was difficult to stand and a little dicey walking on the rocks, trying to keep ones balance and watch for snakes at the same time. Widow did give us a great show flying in this wind.. Eagles are amazing birds.