Magazine article Occupational Hazards

He'll Never Be Known as the 'Bird Brain' of Homer

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

He'll Never Be Known as the 'Bird Brain' of Homer

Article excerpt

The bald eagle may be our national emblem and a soaring symbol of American pride, but in Homer, a community of about 12,000 on the south-central coast of Alaska, they are almost as common as pigeons are in much of the "Lower 48." Every winter, hundreds of eagles gorge themselves on fishing scraps at the docks and canneries on Homer Spit, which just more than four miles into scenic Kachemak Bay.

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During the last week in March, Kurt Marquardt, who works for Steiner's North Star Construction of Homer, was on a crew building a 15,000-square-foot addition to the Land's End Resort at the tip of Homer Spit. Marquardt was standing on the third-floor joists about 30 feet above the beach when a bald eagle swooped out of the sky and smacked into his head and then his forearm.

Bald eagles are huge birds--around three feet long, weighing up to 12 pounds with wingspans of up to seven feet--and they are equipped with talons that can rip human flesh or carry off small dogs or cats. …

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