Saturday, November 2, 2013

For The Love Of An Eagle

I have been a World Bird Sanctuary volunteer for 10 years now and I can remember the first time I laid eyes on one of the World Bird Sanctuary’s Bald Eagles.

I was in college in Macomb, IL and my sister, brother-in-law and I decided to travel to Keokuk, Iowa one weekend to go eagle watching.  It was an experience to remember.  We had a great viewing of eagles at the Lock and Dam that year.  It was my first time seeing so many of them at once.  We had easily counted over 100 eagles within a few hours.  However, the bonus was that in the Kississippi Mall there was an eagle program going on that we didn’t know about.  So we took a break from the cold and went to check it out.  It was my introduction to an eagle named Myakka and an organization that has come to mean so much to me.

There I sat, next to my sister, in the movie theater with tears of joy pouring down my face, much like now as I remember Myakka sitting on his perch.  One look at Myakka and I was hooked.  I just could not take my eyes off of him through the whole presentation, and I remember how awestruck I was standing by him after the program.   I heard his story during the presentation and the pain I felt for what had happened to him ripped at my heart.  He was raised in captivity and released to the wild in the early 90’s, when the population was endangered. He was a part of the release program to help bring the eagles back, but someone shot him.

Myakka was a beautiful eagle and a great ambassador for his species.  I left that theater with more respect, and for the love I already had for Bald Eagles.  I also left with a deep respect for the ones who worked with him. I wanted to do so much more for Myakka and the World Bird Sanctuary.

Years later after graduating, and then moving to the St. Louis area, I was able to reconnect with the World Bird Sanctuary and found Myakka again. 

Volunteer Jennifer Jones and Myakka - photo by Sandra Lowe

A few years after that I was volunteering at the Sanctuary, and was honored to be working with him.  I felt like I had come full circle with Myakka, a chance to meet him so many years ago and then the honor to work with him many years later. 

Myakka was my first eagle love, but in a way he helped to introduce me to another eagle very near and dear to my heart.

Myakka was a big reason why I am where I am today.  He was the first eagle I was able to get up close to, and had the honor and privilege of working with so many years later.  It was a bit of love at first sight; just don’t tell Liberty (another of WBS’s education Bald Eagles) on me.

Thank you Myakka!  You have given not only me, but those who knew you, so much.

In loving Memory of Myakka

Submitted by Jennifer Jones, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer

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