It is with great sadness that we announce Phoenix, the golden eagle resident educational Animal Ambassador of 38 years was humanely eased from suffering. Phoenix was experiencing a rapid loss of vision, and unfortunately, after changes in behavior were noted, it was discovered that he was also in end-stage kidney failure, for which there is, unfortunately, no treatment. The decision to ease his pain and stress was made by Executive Director Dave Siddon, Jr., with consultation from veterinarians and Wildlife Images’ Animal Care Team.
Phoenix was an amazing bird with an unforgettable personality who shared a unique relationship with Siddon. In the spring of 1980, a sickly eaglet was discovered on the ground on the side of a logging road near Brookings, OR. When Siddon arrived on the coast he saw Phoenix for the first time still nested in the hardhat of his rescuers. The degree of dehydration and poor health he arrived in made it necessary for nearly round-the-clock feedings and treatments. Because of the amount of time spent in intensive human care, he became dependent on people and developed a strong bond with Siddon. He spent many years as an educational ambassador exemplifying the majesty of birds of prey at zoos, community events, and of course, thousands of hours spent educating the public with Wildlife Images.
“Phoenix was far and away the most amazing eagle I have ever worked with. He and I traveled all over the country together working on films and educational programs since I was in my twenties. He will leave a hole in my heart that will last for the rest of my life,” said Siddon.
Trained by Siddon, Phoenix was cast in countless commercials and several movies including Rocky Mountain Reunion, with John Denver, (photos attached), Mountain Family Robinson, and an unreleased Disney IMAX production. In this way, and at Wildlife Images, Phoenix’s iconic legacy will live on.