How Does Trust Building Relate to Wabasha’s Eagle Center?
This past Saturday, my daughter Shaynan and I drove to Wabasha to visit the Eagle Center. While most people have attended this facility, it has been on my list for the last five years, ever since I happened to view a news report about Angel and her visit to the river, in winter, to revisit what was her daily routine, when she was not injured and no longer able to live in the wild. She allowed the handler to pick her up and walk down to the water’s edge and place her feet in the water and splash around for a time. Angel may have been tethered to a bar, and humans standing nearby, but for a moment there it looked like she was reliving a past pleasure. Sigh! I think Angel just sighed, she is remembering her life as it was before!
The eagles located at the Eagle Center have been injured and are no longer able to live in the wild. Most injuries are from being struck by a car and either a leg is damaged or a wing is broken and cannot be healed. They may be injured but their job now is to educate the public and raise awareness about these majestic animals.
As part as admission, you may attend a presentation where a handler discusses eagles, their diet, how far they can see and how wide the wing span is. In addition, the handler discusses the fact that while it may look easy to you and you may think all you have to do is walk up there and stick your arm out and the eagle or hawk will just jump on, that is not the case. In each situation, trust needs to be earned as this is truly a wild animal, from feeding to letting the bird perch on your leather-glove arm. In each talon, there is 400 psi of pressure, and if there are four talons at the end of each foot, that is a lot of trust you are putting on that bird to not crush your arm! In addition, these birds are not raised in captivity and while they are handled on a daily basis, they still need to trust you, and not harm you, and they expect the same from you. Each handler feeds and cares for their assigned bird and a relationship is formed. I have great admiration for these workers because they assume a great deal of responsibility for the care of a fragile animal and one bad memory may make that eagle not trust again. Trust takes time and patience, whether you are human or not. We each place our trust in others and want to be treated the way we treat the other.
Life is too short to put your trust in the wrong person. Enjoy life, but make sure that each moment is the best possible moment out there.