|He's called The Inquisitive One.|
Zuni Fish and Wildlife director and biologist Nelson Luna opened the door to the eagle refuge’s main flyway, a 100-by-25-foot space with 18-foot slatted walls. Shade dappled the gravel-covered floor and made the Zuni Eagle Sanctuary a pleasant haven from western New Mexico’s brilliant high-desert sun. In the refuge, Luna and environmental technician Alfonso Penketewa care for 26 injured eagles—13 golden and 13 bald—that wouldn’t survive if released. Birds bathed in shallow pools. Others sprinted short distances or flew the length of the space, feathers floating in their wake. Occasionally, they shrieked—a wild, piercing cry.
Along one side of the main flyway were a series of smaller aviaries holding birds that needed special care or were recently arrived from around the country—some of the 40 the sanctuary has accepted since it opened in 1999. These were adjusting to the local climate and getting ready to be moved into the main “convocation,” the term for a group of eagles. “They have to get used to each other and figure out their pecking order,” said Luna.