PERKINS, OKLAHOMA -- Megan Judkins is admittedly spoiled to the kind of eagle watching most people do during winter months in Oklahoma.
She sees both Bald and Golden Eagles up close just about every day.
"I've been doing (bird) rehab since I was about 11," says Megan.
Judkins is the current director of the Iowa Tribe's Grey Snow Eagle House.
Megan, herself, is in the final stages of a PHD project to map the genomes of these iconic animals, and she helps care for these birds who can't ever leave this flight cage.
She continues, "We hope they go back out into the wild. Unfortunately some of their injuries are too great to be able to go into the wild."
It varies from year to year but eagle rescue teams deployed from this facility get most of their calls from Thanksgiving to Valentines Day when wild populations are here for winter roosting and feeding.
They get another rush of calls when severe storms hit the nests of birds not quite ready to fly.
"That's about the time tornadoes come through and knock trees and nests over."
Though long used to the reality of close work with eagles, Megan is ever mindful of their grace and power.
Their sharp beaks and formidable talons must always be accounted for.
"Their feet have about the same strength that a Rottweiler dog does in its bite," she says. "If they get into you, you have to wait for them to let go. A grown man can't pull their talons out of your arm or hand, or wherever they end up."
According to Iowa tribal lore the eagle is the only animal to have looked upon the face of the Creator.
Eagles also have the ability to carry prayers.
Judkins and her tam care for these birds partly as a way to keep them on the planet, but also as a way of thanking them for bridging the gap between heaven and earth.
"I count my lucky stars every day that I'm able to work at a facility that does this," she says.
On Saturday, April 7th the Grey Snow Eagle House will celebrate their 2nd Annual Spring Migration Bird Festival with programs, interactive booths, and food trucks.
For more information go to http://www.eagles.iowanation.org