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Like any conference, SHOT Show exists to get eyeballs looking at products. One of the easiest ways to do that is via the tried and true “booth babe” concept that our editorial staff has covered endlessly in previous years. Sex sells, and having cleavage appears to still get asses in seats metaphorically speaking. The other tried and true, albeit more expensive method, is to get a celebrity of some importance to come by for an hour or so. This year, Brownells brought out Lou Ferrigno for a rifle giveaway, and Aimpoint brought out former World’s Strongest Man, Magnus Samuelsson. But nobody read their audience better than Gerber, who brought a real live mother effing bald eagle to the booth.

Naturally, Gerber doesn’t own an eagle. But they did contract with the American Eagle Foundation to bring Challenger each day for photo opportunities and a review of AEF’s work to educate the human population on the importance of birds of prey.

I’m not above a gimmick, and I certainly can’t resist the opportunity to take a picture with a real live bald eagle. Many thanks to Gerber, the AEF, and Challenger’s handler, Laura Sterbens, for the education and my new LinkedIn photo.

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  1. I imagine it’s a testament of my advanced age but the mention of Gerber bringing an eagle made me wonder what a baby food company was doing with an eagle.

  2. Is it just me or does that bird look ready to mess someone up?
    I’ve got to say it’s a much more creative gimmick then the booth bunnies at the technical conferences I go to, I bet the Eagle knows more about firewalls and endpoint security too 🙂

    • “Is it just me or does that bird look ready to mess someone up?”

      That’s the way eagles are. Drove by a bald eagle on the side of the road eating a dead deer. Looked at me like he wasn’t going to share and I better keep moving.

      • Yep, that is exactly the way eagles are. No matter the exact species, they are intimidating birds.

        Used to make the same convention circuit as a woman named Doris Major, who was with an organization
        known as SOAR, Save Our American Raptors.

        She traveled all over the country by car, and did not carry, or need, a firearm of any type.

        She had a bald eagle, a golden eagle, and a great horned owl, all of which thought she was their mommy.

        The bald eagle was asthmatic, true, but he would still, as you say, “mess somebody up”

        He’d just need an inhaler and a rest afterward.

      • Yeah, its just the “eagle look”. They look at everything like: “I wonder if that’s edible”? Living in Montana I see wild eagles regularly. Used to see a mated pair flying around old smoky hill (Nashua,MT) every time I went by, for years.
        That pair is gone now though. Don’t know what happened to them. But I still see them almost every hunt And regularly on the roadside. They eat roadkill a lot. They aren’t above carrion.

    • Raptors in general tend to have that look. That “Don’t fook with me” look is why the eagle is such a great national symbol. Thank goodness we didn’t go with Benjamin Franklin’s suggestion of the turkey.

  3. Actually in Alaska….Bald Eagle attacks are apparently pretty common in nesting areas. Here is Tennessee we are lucky to have the largest population of nesting Bald Eagles in the lower 48….Reelfoot Lake…worth a visit if you are in Tennessee.

    • Thanks for this info. I don’t often get over that far into Tennessee, but that may make it worth a trip.

      Conowingo Dam in Darlington, MD is one of the best places to see bald eagles on the East Coast. 100s of photographers are there on the weekends. I’ve met guys who have driven down FROM Canada to spend a few days and photograph there. The fishing pier off the dam might as well be renamed the “photographer pier.”

      If you go, just remember, of course, that you are in MD.

  4. Bald eagles are cool, but now that they are making a comeback I understand why they almost became extinct. So far they’ve carried away two of my chickens and just about tore the butt off a third in the attempt.

    • You should set up some cameras over your chickens. If you’re going to lose a chicken, at least get a great video out of it.

      • The likelihood of actually witnessing a Bald Eagle snatching a live chicken is remote. If anyone has such a video, I’d be interested to see it.

        After living on the shore of a lake for many years, I’ve learned that Bald Eagles much prefer stinky carcasses to the live food.

        Similar to gulls, Bald Eagles and Osprey often wait patiently for “fishermen” to catch and release a trout. When the poor little fish fails to revive and pops to the surface, the scavengers swoop in.

    • Real talk get abig mean ass rooster like a jersey black giant malay or aseel and they will fight an eagle or hawk to the death to save your laying hens

  5. Very cool

    I’ve seen small crocodiles, snakes, koalas, kangaroo etc here at various trade and other shows here in Australia.

    But never a wedge tail eagle which is our largest with slightly bigger body than a bald eagle but much larger wing span.

    Probably the most popular non animal thing though was some genuine 25 # gold bars you could pick up under very heavy security.

  6. Good job, Gerber! My wife and I live in a log home on 5 acres, overlooking the Skykomish River in Washington. We see Bald Eagles regularly in our locale. Once, we were sitting on our patio, overlooking the valley, when a Bald came gliding over the peak of our roof, with one of our $120 Koi from our pond in his talons. Expensive meal to be sure!

    The other recent incident was when hiking one of our trails, we found a dead and partially eaten Blue Heron. We wondered what had done him in – ambushed by a coyote near our pond or one of our neighbor’s ponds? Killed and dragged off by racoons?

    The next morning the answer arrived – perched on the carcass was a magnficent Bald Eagle, eating away with a “You get your own damned breakfast!” look on his face. One threatened species eating another – nature at its finest!

  7. “…educate the human population on the importance of bird’s of prey.”

    No need for the apostrophe in “birds” in that sentence. Just your friendly roving copy editor checking in.

    • I noticed that, too.

      The gratuitous apostrophe is a phenomenon that boggles the mind. Birds. Plural. What’s so friggin’ hard about that? You can’t just write it off to laziness. I mean, it takes extra effort to do it wrong!

      • Is there supposed to be an apostrophe in “friggin'”? It takes the same number of keystrokes to insert the ‘ as it does the letter “g”. 🙂

        • It indicates a change in pronunciation, so it actually has a point. The apostrophe in the other case is just an error.

        • When too many questions of this nature come up at once, I often find it best to activate the catapostrophe response team.

    • Dunno how you older folks roll but for those of us under 40 (or 50) a “bald eagle” doesn’t refer to a chick who shaves. It refers to a guy who either shaves it all off or picks up younger women.

      Just thought I’d point that out.

      Now, about that “San Francisco bird feeder”….

      • It’s always referred to the ladies where I’m from. Then again I don’t live in San Fran or hang out in gay bars. YMMV.

      • Egads, what have we done to you poor kids?

        Unless someone is unscrewably ugly, completely obliviously rude, or just doesn’t like sex, there hasn’t been ‘grass on the field’ since, maybe the late 1980s.

  8. Although balds are the national symbol, I prefer the golden eagle. Just a little meaner, bigger and needing of wide open spaces. From what I have seen when a golden is feeding all the other birds wait until the mean guy has finished.


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