Washed-up Eagle


The morning was calm and boring. very boring.
I was at work that day. I woke up, dreading work already.
All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball like my cat and glaze into the sun until i went blind.
I worked as a lifeguard for the beautiful metropolitan Chicago.
That day I was the first to go onto the pier.
The pier is grand, you’re all by yourself and it’s just an easy post.
I was out there not even five minutes when lo and behold a marvelous aviary creature was floating in the water
It was so majestic.
feathers floating graciously in the lull of the waves. A creature that deserved respect for its size and the way it didn’t deserve to die in the water like that. There was no obvious evidence of death.
I was in complete awe for that hour I was on the lonely pier.
I wanted to radio in the beauty because it was slowly but surely heading towards shore. How would people react to this three-foot-wing-span creature?
I followed it along the ledge with my finger ready on the call button of my radio and luckily the current of the lake that day by the pier washed the eagle back and forth, not towards the shore.
By the end of that hour another guard came to relieve me.
I shared my finding with him and he was in stupor as well.
He told me to go tell our supervisor
and in my excitement I fell up the stairs.
I told the mate and he directed me with the help of a 200 pound or so bulky lifeguard to row out to the eagle and capture its carcass in a clear plastic bag.
We set out and there it was, still floating carelessly in the water. By then I was close enough to smell it’s water-logged rotting flesh. One of its talons was the size of my small hand. It’s beak sharp and killer.
It was heavy with water and many of its large feathers had gone missing. When I tried picking it up out of the water it was too heavy and we both used effort to drag it into the boat.
With bird on board we headed towards shore.
On the way back to shore I spotted a large eagle feather in the water, I said, “to the left, to the right. a little more” and with that I picked it up out of the water as well. We reached the shore. We had a shovel.
I put the large predatory bird on the shovel and just dragged it to the lifeguard station at Foster ave beach.
On my way there people were looking. I needed to call someone
because every second, every minute
the animal was getting closer and closer to disintegration.
Finally we got a hold of the lincoln park zoo personnel because I knew eagles we under the Eagle excursion act.
A man with a large mole on the side of his nose came on his bike with his helmet and greying hair.
The very impersonal man told us he was going to inform the Field museum and run some tests on the creature.
Before he left he scolded to me that being in possession of an eagle feather is against the act too for they won’t know how you got a hold of it. It’s only acceptable if you’re a Native American or have a special permission.
In  my logic I found it acceptable since I found it…. and didn’t kill the bird to get it.
Later that night I went on the world wide web and a website mentioned it’s a gift or blessing to find an eagle feather.
I never found out how that bird died.


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