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Female eagles’ death grip broken

By JIM LARSEN
South Whidbey Record Editor
November 17, 2012 · Updated 3:42 PM
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Dr. Dave Parent gets the evil eye from one of the female eagles he separated from a death grip Monday night. The birds injured each other but were able to fly away. / --

Freeland veterinarian Dr. Dave Parent has no illusions that our national symbol is a proud, peace loving bird. Sometimes they can be downright nasty.

Monday evening he was called to a home of Daneice Webster on Central Whidbey where two female eagles had apparently fallen from the sky in a death grip. Each sank talons into the other, and neither was about to let go.

“I got a call and got there after dark,” Parent said Thursday. “When I got there, they had their talons sunk into each other. It’s usually a territorial battle, but eagles are just evil. They want to kill one another.”

Parent described the birds as “very large females who got locked together. “They just won’t let go, they’re waiting for the other to die,” he said.

After covering the heads of the two birds, Parent went to work separating them. One bird had talons in the other’s drumstick and thigh, while the other had a grip on its enemy’s tail feathers. “I very, very carefully extracted the talons,” he said.

The birds remained quiet during the procedure conducted over the course of about 15 minutes by Parent with the help of an employee. When set free, both flew for a distance and then landed. The next morning, the property owner told Parent both birds had flown away. Eagles are known to heal very quickly from their injuries, the veterinarian said.

Parent has helped in a number of such eagle incidents over the years. “They fight all year but this one was particularly bad,” he said.

“I think they’d have stayed until one of them died.”

Parent posted a photo of himself and one of the angry birds on his Useless Bay Animal Clinic Facebook page. “It’s just amazing, it went viral,” he said. Very quickly there were “500 likes” from people around the world, and the total is still climbing.

 

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