Rain is a very large bald eagle who lives in Sitka, Alaska. She was brought to the Alaska Raptor Center after being found on the ground in Juneau. As soon as the vet got close to Rain, she discovered the cause of Rain’s injury by the way Rain smelled. Rain had flown too close to a power line and had been electrocuted. Her right wingtip was burned.
They were able to surgically remove the damaged wing tip, but after weeks of flying lessons, it was determined that Rain would only ever be able to fly/hop short distances. She would not survive being released back into her forest, which is the goal of the Raptor center. Every year they rehabilitate over 200 damaged eagles, owls, hawks, etc. with the goal of sending them back home safely.
So, what about the ones who will never fly again?
This remarkable facility has a “Raptor-in-Residence” program where birds who can’t be returned to their natural habitats are allowed to live out a full life at this 17-acre aviary oasis. They are well cared for and well fed. And it was apparent that they are also very, very well loved by the staff and volunteers who work there.
In Rain’s case, it was discovered that she seemed to like being around people. During all of her recovery and flight training, she responded well to her handlers and displayed a calm curiosity about the humans around her. So, Rain now serves as a Raptor rehab resident and participates in their educational efforts with visitors and school children. She sits calmly on her trainer’s arm perch and looks around at the visitors with a curiosity usually reserved for cats. She also enjoys the salmon treats that the trainer gives her throughout the talk. What a life!
When I met Rain, I was instantly reminded of these beautiful words from the book of Isaiah:
Isaiah 40:31 (Common English Bible)
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength;
they will fly up on wings like eagles;
they will run and not be tired;
they will walk and not be weary.
Have you ever been “burned” by flying too close to something dangerous? Are you exhausted with things right now? Has your strength run out?
Remember Rain. She is a reminder that those who hope in the Creator will be renewed, strengthened, and won’t grow weary. And don’t forget this: God is a God of second chances. He has a plan for your life, and it is a plan to give you a future with hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
May you soar like an eagle today!