Thursday, January 7, 2010

Avian Abductions

Tales of giant raptors absconding with small children are plentiful, but perhaps there is truth to these tales.

In September 1908, it was reported that a young girl was snatched up by bald eagle on Waukhaw mountain, near Caldwell, NY. The bird - one of a pair - struggled with all forty pounds of three year old Gladys Vreeland before depositing here in the boughs of a nearby hemlock tree.

Her father, local farmer John Milton Vreeland, witnessed the frightening abduction. He stated that the bird, which had been soaring high above, had swooped down to pluck a hen from within a thick bush. When the little girl went to the hen's aid, the eagle pounced on her, digging its sharp talons into her body, tearing both dress and flesh.

As he raced from the field nearby, a horror-stricken Vreeland watched helplessly while the bird flapped furiously - perhaps to extricate itself from the twisted fabric of the girl's dress.

Gladys screamed in terror, struggling to wrest herself free from the bird's grip. As the bird reached the top of the hemlock, the dress ripped and the bird was able to drop the girl into its branches. A pile of hay nearby was used to break the girl's fall from the tree and she suffered only minor injuries.

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