Megan Dean demonstrates how to rescue an eagle at the Museum of the Aleutians retail store. (Hope McKenney/KUCB)

There’s a new bald eagle wrangler in Unalaska. 

That is ideal: The island has volunteers who, under a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Provider allow, enable rescue hurt eagles or salvage dead kinds.

Ordinarily, area fisheries biologist Brianna McGrath heads a team of four volunteers to do the position. But practically all of them are leaving the island for the summer time — a chaotic time for pulling eagles out of warehouses or rescuing hurt ones from Unalaska’s docks and area spit.

That’s in which Megan Dean comes in.

McGrath tapped Dean as Unalaska’s newest raptor wrangler to assist bridge the summer time hole in volunteers. 

“I know that Meg is a small chook nerd like me, so I figured she could possibly be fascinated,” McGrath said.  

And Dean was intrigued — extremely interested.

Dean is effective at the Museum of the Aleutians, and is a self-proclaimed “bird nerd” like McGrath. She grew up in Connecticut fascinated by purple-tailed hawks and other raptors. She also lived in Bethel the place she labored with a falconer who had a gyrfalcon and a goshawk. 

“(Developing up), we didn’t have cable, so I’m one particular of these freaks that imagined everyone viewed PBS’s NOVA series,” Dean reported. “And then in Springfield, Massachusetts — suitable throughout the border — WGBY has a peregrine falcon cam. It’s a present I considered everyone watched, which was not the situation. I have just usually loved raptors.”

A woman picks up an eagle in a blanket in a grassy area.
Brianna McGrath rescues an eagle in Sept. 2020. (Image courtesy of Sarah Spelsberg)

Dean was “nervously excited” to be asked to come to be a volunteer eagle rescuer.

“They’re distantly-associated to the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park that induced that entire ruckus,” she reported. “So I was like, ‘This is in all probability one particular of the craziest things I’ve ever signed up for in my everyday living.’ But in this article we are. And we survived.”

Over the previous 3 several years, McGrath mentioned her group of volunteers has rescued or retrieved additional than 50 eagles. But, she claimed, that doesn’t consist of five to 10 supplemental releases of uninjured eagles that get on their own caught up attempting to get fish from a warehouse or crab tank. 

McGrath commenced schooling her new volunteer recruit, Dean, past Monday. That intended the two put in time throwing a thick blanket in excess of stationary objects and stuffed animals around Sitka Spruce Park and viewing movies of eagle rescues. Just a working day later on, Dean got her very first connect with. 

“There was an eagle — it seemed like a woman. She was pretty significant,” Dean reported. “She was in excess of at UniSea and had a couple of various injuries. Brie termed me and we went over to scoop her up.” 

Dean and McGrath set on significant jackets and thick leather-based gloves, approached the female eagle and threw a blanket around her. Dean stated she grabbed the large hen and cradled it in her arms, building sure to hold on limited to the raptor’s powerful legs.

“That’s so they cannot talon your encounter or the artery in your arm,” she stated. “And it can help hold them immobile so you are secure and they are secure.”

They set the injured eagle into an extra-significant canine crate and took it to the airport exactly where it would fly out on an ACE Cargo flight to the Chicken Cure and Understanding Heart in Anchorage. The centre can take about 1,000 wounded birds each yr from around the condition, according to its web-site. McGrath mentioned if the eagle can be rehabilitated there, it will be. 

“But if they just cannot, then they’re euthanized,” she claimed. “I constantly really feel like even if they’re euthanized, we’re carrying out a superior thing, due to the fact either way, we’re serving to them out. If they are taken for rehab, they are acquiring greater. And if they’re staying euthanized, we’re placing them out of their distress.”

McGrath claimed useless eagles are sent to Colorado’s National Eagle Repository, operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

“At the eagle repository, Native Us citizens throughout the country can apply for their elements and their feathers,” she stated. “And they’ll use them for ceremonial applications, spiritual reasons. It is just a great, great program.”