Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Build-a-Beak! Beauty and the Beak by Deborah Lee Rose

By the time she was four years old, the young eagle had acquired the classic white tail and head feathers and soaring flight of an adult bald eagle. She became a powerful hunter. But one day something inexplicable happened.

A crash like lightning and thunder split the air. Her face burned, she couldn't see, and she fell. A bullet had shattered her beak. She lay on the ground for days, too weak to move.

Amazingly the young eagle managed to rally enough to find water, although she could barely drink without her upper beak. But when a policeman found her sometime later, trying to find food in a landfill, her luck began to change.

Taken to a wildlife refuge, the eagle survived with human help from a raptor biologist named Janie, who named her "Beauty." Serendipitously, an engineer named Nate happened to hear Janie speak about her efforts to save the eagle, and the two combined their talents to come up with the idea of using 3-D printing technology to create a new upper beak for Beauty.

With the help of an innovative dentist named Ryan, the beak was designed and printed and installed. But would Beauty adapt to the plastic beak and would it actually work?
For the first time since the injury, Beauty scooped up a full beak of water, threw back her head, and swallowed like an Eagle in the wild!

And as the new edition of Deborah Lee Rose's Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle (Persnickety Press, 2019 ed.) reports, Beauty's own beak is beginning to regrow slowly, requiring adjustments in her beak prosthesis, a technical problem, but a hopeful sign that someday she may be restored to the original beauty of the bald eagle. With its accessible narrative and ample color photographs of Beauty's makeover, this true animal rescue story will appeal to young wildlife lovers as well as young would-be engineers and animal scientists, who will also make us of the appendix with wide information, "Where's Beauty Today?," "Beauty's Beak and Other Prosthetic Devices," "All about Bald Eagles," and "How You Can Help," as well as documented sources and resources for elementary grade readers.

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