C52: No we’re not playing battleship

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C52 struttin' his stuff at the State Fair

Maria Abel-Crecelius, Interepretive Naturalist, with C52

C52 is Patoka Lake’s resident bald eagle. He graced the state fair with his presence at the DNR amphitheater. In what was by far the largest crowd I’ve seen at the amphitheatre, C52 and his companion, a red-tailed hawk, did not disappoint.

Both birds, unable to fly because of bum wings, sat on their handler’s arms, but on more than one occasion, tried to take off and make their visit to the State Fair a quick one. It is quite the struggle for the handlers to flip the birds back onto their arms, but while it may be a struggle for them, it is very entertaining to watch.

At one point a man-made bird flew over head and caught the attention of the red-tailed hawk. The helicopter is something I’m sure a wild bird doesn’t want to see. Especially in this case, as the hawk lost the ability to fly by another man-made object – the car. That’s alright, though, because wild hawks only live to be about 10 years old, whereas, this hawk will probably live for about 20 to 25 years. She’ll live the pampered lifestyle of being fed dead mice. If that’s not the life, I don’t know what is.

C52 is a 21 year old Alaskan born bald eagle that has lived at Patoka Lake for the last 21 years. If you’re wondering how he got the name C52, 20 years ago DNR re-introduced bald eagles to Indiana. He is the 52nd bald eagle that came to Indiana from Alaska.

As you can see in the picture, C52 looks likes he is in a bad mood. What you can’t see is the boy who was in an even worse mood when C52 went back into his cage. Yes, it’s true I didn’t want him to go.
-Don

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