Mar 24, 2015

Gifts of An Eagle

by Kent Durden
The author tells how he and his father raised and trained a golden eagle. At the time eagles were only protected at the state level, so they were able to obtain a permit to trap and keep a golden eagle for educational purposes. They studied the bird as it grew, keeping a record on film. They created short films depicting the eagle's flying skills and intelligence, and later created early nature films for Walt Disney and pieces that were used in the tv show Lassie. That was all pretty interesting, but most I enjoyed reading about the eagle's habits, how they interacted with and trained her, how she adjusted to new situations, how she bonded with the author's father while viewing the son as pretty much a sworn enemy for life. (Because he had to hold the eagle when his father trimmed its talons, and also was the one to trap the eagle when they re-enacted its capture for a film). It was fascinating to read about how the eagle became a foster parent numerous times- when she laid unfertilized eggs during the breeding season (having no mate) they replaced her eggs with fertile ones from other birds to see how she would raise them. Geese, ducks, owlets and last of all some actual golden eagles. So many interesting moments here, told very well. This book was a surprisingly good read. It made me laugh a good number of times.

Rating: 4/5      160 pages, 1972


Jenny @ Reading the End said...

She never got to any sort of rapprochement with the son? That's sad! If I were the son I'd probably start to feel rather resentful -- like, hey BIRD, I have been caring for you THIS WHOLE TIME. :p

Jackie Bailey said...

I loved reading 'H is for Hawk' and this sounds similar. I'm developing a love for nature writing so will add this to the list - thanks for drawing it to my attention!

Jeane said...

Jenny- Yeah, I know. He was still fascinated by the bird and admired it, I think he'd been working with birds of prey for a long time with his father (want to read more of his books!) It got to the point where his dad would have to trick him into holding the eagle for talon work, and make him a decoy, to get certain film footage of the eagle flying to attack something (his son!) Provided with sagebrush shield, but still it sounded really unnerving.

Jackie- I've still got H is for Hawk on my TBR list! In college I stumbled across a few books about falconry and read everything I could find on it from the library- its so interesting and such a different relationship than the kind we have with dogs or horses.