May 5, 2008—Shown on April 23, 2008, at a raptor recovery center in St. Maries, Idaho, Beauty the bald eagle will undergo surgery in June to replace the upper beak she lost to a bullet at least two years ago.
(Related photo: "Balding Penguin Gets Custom Wet Suit" [April 25,2008].)
Beauty's current stump is useless for hunting food, so a biologist has been hand-feeding the bird with forceps.
Jane Fink Cantwell, who operates Cantwell's Birds of Prey Northwest, has spent the past two years assembling a team to design and build the nylon-composite beak.
They plan to glue it to Beauty next month. With the beak, the 7-year-old bald eagle could live to be 50, although not in the wild—the fake beak won't be strong enough to allow Beauty to cut and tear flesh.
The 15-pound (7-kilogram) eagle was found in 2005 scrounging for food and slowly starving at a landfill in Alaska.
Erik Stauber of the nearby Washington State University veterinary hospital does not have a lot of faith the artificial beak will work.
"It's a valiant effort to do something," he said. "We have no experience with it."
—Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press
More Photos in the News
Today's 15 Most Read Stories
Free Email Newsletter: Focus on Photography