EMPIRE, Mich. (WWJ) – A rare Golden Eagle is recovering well at a raptor center near Traverse City after having a toe amputated.
The beautiful bird of prey was found in the woods last month by a logger near Mass City, in Ontonagon County in the Upper Peninsula, injured with his foot caught in a trap.
Rebecca Lessard, Executive Director of Wings of Wonder in Empire, Michigan, says he’s a pretty mellow guy and has been a model patient — especially when he was in intensive care.
“I would reach in and pick up him and kind of cradle him on my left side, holding him with my left hand, and then medicated his foot with my right hand,” Lessard told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Beth Fisher. “And he would pretty much either just watch what I was doing — he never tried to bite me — or he would just drape his head over my shoulder so that he could look out the window.”
Lessard said they won’t decide if “Golden Boy” (also called “Sir Golden Boy” by one of the volunteers) will be able to be released back into the wild until the Spring, after he’s had more time to recover.
Currently, he’s convalescing in a 20-foot flight pen.
“I’m not ready to move him into our 100-foot flight pen, because I don’t want him flying and building up such speed that when he lands he’s going to hurt that foot,” she said. “Because his landings are a bit uncoordinated still at this point.”
The golden eagle is rarely seen in Michigan, typically found in the western U.S. and Canada.