BLAIR, Wis. - "When you're watching the video, I want you to write everything you can about it." Mr. Briggs second grade class at Blair-Taylor Elementary School is working on a writing assignment like lots of second grade classes do. "Write what you want. Don't worry about spelling."
But this class is writing about something special, something very close to their hearts. "Watch what Lucy does when she comes into the nest."
Lucy and her mate Larry are Eagles living in a nest just outside of town. Thanks to a grant back in 2010 that helped pay for cameras, the students can get a bird's eye view of all the action. "Shall we try to zoom in on the eye? Yeah!"
The Eagles4Kids website streams 24 hours a day. Last year, folks who logged on watched Larry and Lucy welcome two little eaglets. "Their names are Luke and Lily."
But this year has been different. This year lessons have been learned that were totally unexpected. "It was probably Nov. 16th, 17th that Lucy came in for the first time and we could tell something wasn't right. We could tell by the movements in her body."19725076
Within a few weeks pictures confirmed a badly injured leg. "The talons were kind of stiff and straighten up and we knew at that point that it would fall off or break away."
And for eagle, losing a foot can be a death sentence. "It was difficult. For us - emotionally attached to the project."
Eagle experts tried to capture Lucy hoping to either help with her injury or if needed, help put an end to her pain. "And luckily we weren't successful. If we were, she probably would have been put down. We decided to pull away and give her the best chance understanding that people have disabilities and so do animals. Letting them be and see what happens."
And an extraordinary thing did happen. Unable to hunt or care for herself, Larry started caring for her. "Larry pretty much stands guards and is always close by. She will sit right by him and that's not typical."
"He is nice," says 8-year-old Zack. "He brings in sticks and food. Sometimes chickens."
"Mr. Briggs thinks a farmer is missing three chickens because Larry brought her thee chickens."
"It is a strong bond. I don't think we understand how significant it is. The word love...is it love or is it just what bald eagles do?? Don't know."
Lucy is now adapting to life with one foot. "Sometimes she'll use a wing to stabilize...like right there..."
And having already surprised everyone with her determination, turns out Lucy had one more surprise left in her. "We're like, did she lay an egg yet, says 8-year-old Lydia." "Yet? Yet? And my mom said Lydia come here and I was like YAHOO!!"
Now all eyes are watching and waiting. "April 16th is our 'about' number. Of course we're on Eagle time. It could be earlier, it could be later. 37 days is the general rule. In nature nothing is a guarantee. I tell the kids 'don't put the cart before the horse.' And they understand that. We hope there's a hatch, everyone hopes that there's a catch but there could not be."
Lucy's future may be uncertain but one thing is for sure: she's taught a lesson no one will soon forget. "We have to give all people as well as animals the chance to achieve. Look at every body as they are...things that they can do not things that they can't do. And that's really what it's all about."
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