A wildfire in Utah last month scorched more than grassland and forest; it also destroyed a golden eagle nest where a young bird had been banded earlier this year. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, however, when the volunteer who had banded the bird returned to the site to document its death, he was astonished to find the bird alive.
The eaglet had various burns, but his eyes were unharmed and the parent eagles had obviously been dropping prey to feed him. Because of the extent of his injuries, however, he needed emergency care. Now being cared for at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, the bird has been named Phoenix, but his future is still uncertain. It will be several weeks or months before the full extent of his injuries is clear, but if his burned feathers molt properly, he may be able to be released next spring.
Wildfires are just one type of natural disaster that affects birds, and there are other summer threats birds face this time of year as well. Hopefully, this golden eagle will truly rise from the ashes and overcome the odds to soar.
Photo © Kent Keller