Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Eagle Kissed by God

Recently, I posted articles about Heroes. I cannot escape from this topic, 
it seems, without relaying to you...a very unique experience about Jeff,
in Washington State, who befriended a Bald Eagle and became its Hero! “Freedom”, who survived, in turn, became a Hero to others. 
                      Many thanks, I extend to my friend Carolyn in Louisiana
                                  for sending me this awesome story.

This is the kind of story you need when it seems like the world 
is spiralling out of control. Not many people get a picture 
of this proud bird snuggled up next to them.

Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer. She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings. Her left wing doesn't open all the way,
even after surgery...it was broken in 4 places. She's my baby.

When Freedom came in, she could not stand and both wings were broken.
She was emaciated and covered with lice. We made the decision to give her
a chance at life, so I took her to the vet's office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was
loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk
to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me
with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube-feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4 to 6 weeks, and by then she still couldn't stand.
It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she 
couldn't stand in a week...You know you don't want to cross that line
between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. 
She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in 
on that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go the the centre that Thursday, because I couldn't bear the thought of her being euthanized; 
but I went anyway, and when I walked in, everyone was grinning
from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was...
                      Standing...on her own! A big beautiful Eagle! 
               She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. 
                                    That was “a very good day” !

We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove her.
I got used to the glove, and then the jesses, and we started doing
education programs for schools in western Washington. We wound up
in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets
did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I had
stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere, so I wound up
doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair...the whole bit! I missed a lot of work.
When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvary and take Freedom out for walks.
Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer.
This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November, 2000, the day after Thanksgiving.
I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not completely gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. 
I went Monday and I was told that all the cancer was gone.

So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk.
It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn't said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back. I was engulfed in eagle wings. Then she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that, for I don't know how long...that was a 'magic moment'. We have been soul mates ever since she came in.  This is a very special bird!

On a side note: I have had people who were sick, come up to us when we were out together, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power course through his body. I have so many stories like that.

I never forget the honour I have
of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom.

Hope you enjoy this! May God Bless You All.

But they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40:31)

Merle Baird-Kerr
written September 8, 2011

Postscript: The Bald Eagle is the US national emblem. It has dark brown body and wings and a white head and tail. Its legs and feet are bright yellow, as is its large hooked bill. Its piercing eyes are light yellowish-brown. Females, larger than the males, have a 6 1/2 to 7 foot wing spread (males 6 to 6 1/2 foot).
Bald Eagles are found only in North America, generally in the coastal areas
or near large inland lakes and rivers that have abundant fish and shores with large trees. Many of the Bald Eagles that breed in Washington, are permanent residents. Some birds from western Washington, leave the state in late summer and early fall and move north to exploit food sources...such as salmon...then return by January to breed. (Some birds that breed farther north, winter in Washington.)

The Bald Eagle, formerly ranged from Alaska and Canada and south into United States.  Today, the Bald Eagle can be found in every state except Hawaii. These eagles are more prevalent in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon...the largest concentration  in US is in Alaska.
Many Bald Eagles can be found in Canada. In the past 4 or 5 years, they have returned to the Lake Erie shores. In May, 2011, two young Bald Eagles were building a nest high...in a white pine tree in woodlands of Burlington's Royal Botanical Gardens! Nature lovers locally were enthralled!

Through further research, we know that dogs and cats have not only been of
therapeutic value to patients in hospitals and nursing homes, but have alarmed
people, and saved lives in life-threatening situations. They, like Freedom, have
become Heroes!


  1. This beautiful experience by a human and a creature of the wild, reminds me of a similar, more recent incident.
    The case of, The Mourning Doves and The Lady on the Terrace...Ring A Bell?
    I remember reading that story with great interest, right here, posted not too long ago on this Blog.

  2. It is amazing what Nature can teach us...if we but Listen!
    Thank you Sol...always an Inspiration to me.

  3. I have a real Eagle Feather I was given in The Queen Charlotte Islands B.C.... it appears to protect our Home and its Occupants :)
    An Indian Princess on the Pacific Ocean told us the story. A very Magical Place...
    Thanks Merle for your story on the Gracious Eagle !

  4. AS you know, G.S. feathers fascinate me...how privileged you are to have an Eagle Feather!
    Thank You for your comment.
    In my next life, if God gave me a choice
    (other than human) I would opt to be An Eagle!