This weekend I had the honor of seeing Sequoia the bald eagle again at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium‘s Autumn Sea Fair. Sequoia is an an “animal ambassador” for the San Francisco Zoo and I wrote about her tragic story in a post last year. She was rescued as an eaglet, then released into the wild with all sorts of tracking devices attached to her and then shot when she was four months old. Sequoia was rescued a second time, but the bullets damaged one of her toes and partially paralyzed her tail so she can’t survive in the wild.
Last year, Sequoia faced the wall for most of the event so it was hard to get a really good look at her face. This year she had her game face on throughout the day and didn’t turn around at all, which was a real treat. Making eye contact with a bald eagle is electrifying! (Obviously, you don’t want to get this close to a bald eagle in the wild, these birds should be respected from a distance and are protected under The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.) I could have stared into those magnetic yellow eyes all day.
Sequoia is incredibly patient even when she is surrounded with humans gawking and clicking cameras. This zen-like calm is all part of being a seasoned animal ambassador; she has been doing this professionally for 24 years. For me, meeting Sequoia just confirmed what I already know about bald eagles, they are truly magnificent animals. She probably has converted thousands of people into becoming bald eagle believers during her career and I hope she continues to for a very long time.
(For more detailed information on bald eagles, check out my post The bald eagle: a salute to our national emblem.)