KCHE-GIZHEK (KYLA)


Kyla, a northern female Bald Eagle, was found in July 2008 near the town of Kila, Montana, as a yearling who had just recently left the nest. She had sustained several breaks to her right wing.

Just a few short months after the aviary opened in 2012, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services contacted the Aviary seeking an emergency placement for several eagles. Kyla, along with the others, was temporarily being housed by Kate Davis, Director of Raptors of the Rockies in Florence, Montana. Understanding they needed to find a permanent placement quickly the decision was made to drive and pick up the eagles as soon as arrangements could be made. Once all the paperwork was in order Aviary Directors, Jennifer Randell and Bree Dunham, set out on the 28 hour drive to pick up the eagles. The first leg of the journey had been full of beautiful country and wildlife as they made their way through Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Once they arrived at Raptors of the Rockies there was only time for a short visit and introduction to the eagles before the trip home. With four eagles in tow, the second leg of the trip was no less beautiful when it came to the scenery but the aroma inside the van was less pleasing as the trip continued on. Transporting eagles can put a great deal of stress on them and finding a hotel that will allow Eagles, even in kennels, is difficult. Jennifer and Bree decided to take turns driving to try and shorten the eagles time spent kenneled. After several hours passed you could hear Kyla clanking her beak on the front of the kennel door. When they raised the blanket from her kennel she would peer out and stretch to see what was going on. She seemed more comfortable when someone sat near her kennel as well. When it came time to rest, they stopped and slept with the eagles along the back of the Oregon Trail in an area where they had once lowered traveler’s wagons down into the valley with ropes. Many travelers had found rest here before they continued their journey. This van and its passengers all seemed to enjoy the fresh air and refrain from movement as much as their drivers but the stop was brief. Aviary Directors and the eagles all arrived home safely on August 14th, 2012.

Kyla was given the name Kche-Gizhek which means big sky to honor the place that she comes from. She has a big personality and is very vocal. She is often perched just a few feet from the office window where she greets visitors by throwing her head back and calling loudly. When she arrived her beak was still changing from the dark color of a juvenile and she had streaks of brown on her head and tail. She has matured here. In the fall of 2014 she laid the first eggs of her life here at the Aviary. Though they aren’t fertile, her laying those eggs is a good indicator that she is healthy and comfortable in her environment and that she is content in her permanent home.