Sometime in 2005 Beauty the Bald Eagle was found emaciated and close to death in Alaska after a poacher shot off her upper beak. Her tongue and sinuses were exposed and she couldn’t clutch or tear off food.
She was rescued by Jane Fink Cantwell from the Birds of Prey NorthWest in Idaho. The eight-year-old bird was fed strips of salmon by handlers every day because she was unable to consume solid food.
“For Beauty it was like using only one chopstick to eat. It can’t be done. She had trouble drinking and couldn’t preen her feathers. That was about to change.”
Raptor specialist Jane Fink Cantwell joined forces with mechanical engineer Nate Calvin of Kinetic Engineering Group, and together with other scientists, engineers, and even a dentist, they designed a nylon polymer beak that would perfectly replace Beauty’s lost upper mandible.
Beauty’s new beak isn’t secure enough for her to return to the wild, so Cantwell is still caring for her. But she’s a lot more self-sufficient than she was — and her case may help pave the way for making better prosthetic for wildlife in the future.
Here’s a comment on how Beauty is doing from someone 2 years ago on Facebook :
My name is Melanie Gagnon and I work with the Birds of Prey and I thought I would let you know that Beauty is doing fine. She is still at the Birds of Prey Ranch and will be for the rest of her life due to what happened to her. She cannot be returned to the wild because she would not be able to survive but she is thriving where she is at. She has since then lost her prosthetic due to some growth but they are working to make another for her. She is able to eat fish that is cut into strips but she can’t preen her feathers. Courtesy: Daily Mail,UK, Grist