Naturespeak A naturalist's view of the world

July 17, 2009

Bonjour Luc!

Filed under: Uncategorized — wykes @ 8:25 am

It’s not everyday that you get your own personal bald eagle. Yesterday was one of those “not everydays” as Luc, the re-habilitated bald eagle, was finally installed in his aeire at the Lake Erie Metropark Marshlands Museum. The bird, a handsome 5 year old male, was recovered last year after sustaining serious injuries. After treatment at the Michigan State University veterinary clinic and six months of careful rehabilitation under the expert care of Maybee resident Dave Hogan, the bird recovered its health. Unfortunately, the injury left him permanently blind in his left eye and capable of only limited flight – handicaps preventing him from ever leading a normal life in the wild.

In anticipation of receiving just such a bird, we built the eagle enclosure and obtained the necessary federal permit. It was nearly a two year process, made possible by the hard work of numerous volunteers and donors, that brought us this “delivery day.”  When the project began, we had no way of knowing that our resident would be Luc. It was a “build it and they will come” project. Luc was still a free-flying bird by the time we finished the structure. He was not even “Luc” until a month ago.

Naming a bird that could potentially be with you for 30 years or more, is a daunting task. You’d better like whatever you come up. The name will be written by countless school children, repeated by countless visitors, and pass over our lips a few million times as things progress. Luc refers to the scientific name of the bald eagle in which the species specific name is leucocephalus (pronounced “luke-o-sef-a-lus”) which means “white-headed” in Latin. The name is pronounced “Luke” but I chose to spell it  in the traditional French way as an homage to French-Canadian history of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair region. It is a nice fact, however, that his Star Trek namesake Captain Jean Luc Picard is also bald!

Luc’s introduction to his new aeire (the name for a lofty eagle’s lair, by the way) was not a dramatic affair. Dave Hogan arrived with the bird at mid day and carefully pulled him out from the carrier. After a few photo ops with Bernie & Inge Rovenskie (see here), a few of the dedicated volunteers that help make this day a reality, he brought him into the enclosure.  Releasing ones hold on a powerful bird of prey such as an eagle is a procedure that must be performed with great care, so Dave laid the bird on the ground, rolled him over, and let go.  At that point, you’d think that Luc would have bolted, but he remained in his prone position. In fact, he remained laying down for nearly three hours – much to the consternation of those gathered to get a picture of the eagle in his new cage (see below and here).

Dave assured us that this was normal behavior. Having just gone through the stress of removal from his recovery enclosure and a half hour ride in a dog carrier, Luc was in no hurry to explore his new surroundings. Towards the end of the day he finally stood up and began to roam the enclosure – finally launching into a short flight (the only flight he is capable of) onto his main perch. I will admit to saying, upon witnessing this act, that “the eagle has landed.” I hope that this home will be Tranquility Base for some time to come.

2 Comments »

  1. He’s beautiful Gerry! Looks like Hawkfest will have a new star…..

    Comment by Cara — July 28, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  2. Luc is so awesome, I used to walk with my father at metro last year and we would visit him.

    I even took my amazon orange wing parrot, I always thought my bird Hairy was big, but not at all.

    Cool blog!

    Visit http://www.furnace-centralair.com for south east Michigan affordable heating and cooling!

    Comment by Jason Blair — August 22, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

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