Native lands are believed to reinforce the fundamental inter-connectedness of all natural things, so witnessing a majestic bald eagle born on the behavioral health project we are building for the Salt-River Pima Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) was especially meaningful. As one of the most respected birds in North America, the bald eagle signifies good fortune, courage and growth.
As the Au’ Authum Ki/Kitchell team prepared to break ground on the 51,000-square-foot Behavioral Health Journey to Recovery project in January, we were notified that an existing hawk’s nest just 300 feet from our project site was commandeered by bald eagles when their original nest, a few miles away, was blown over in a storm. In accordance with SRPMIC requirements through the Community Development Department Environmental Protection Natural Resources Division (CDD/EPNR), we were required to postpone our mobilization until the biologist could determine if any of the “fledglings” had hatched/survived. One “fledgling” was declared healthy, resulting in a 10-week delay before we could mobilize on site.
Our team was then invited to take part in the banding of the young bird on March 16, which included an environmentalist scaling the tree to secure it, then lowering it down in a bird stretcher so they could record all vital signs. The baby bald eagle weighed 8 lbs. and was 5 ½ weeks old. An identifying band was placed around its legs before raising it back into the nest. This beautiful bird will be leaving the nest at the 10-week mark and will head north to Montana/Canada. The environmentalist estimates it will return to the area in four to five years to breed.
The patients who receive care at this facility are fortunate to have a watchful attendant for years to come!