Vale’s eagle experts fight for better care for the big birds

Joe Atkinson releases a golden eagle into the sky. (Submitted photo)

VALE - It’s 1976 and there is a baby golden eagle in the middle of the Atkinsons’ kitchen table. The raptor, which will be intimidating when full grown, resembles a puffed-up cotton ball. It’s falconer Joe Atkinson’s first golden eagle and he’s determined to raise it in the house – until one day, the bird shoots its poop so far across the kitchen it splatters against the toaster. 

His wife, Cordi, promptly vetoes raising raptors in the house.

The Atkinsons, master falconers for more than four decades, now live on their 530-acre “fortress of solitude” near Vale.

The couple are a world-renowned team, having been commissioned to fly birds for National Geographic, BBC, PBS, Nature and many other productions. The . . .