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The Sea Eagle – 1842

White tailed eagle Photo: Yathin S. Krishnappa  Wikimedia Commons

White tailed eagle
Photo: Yathin S. Krishnappa
Wikimedia Commons

The Cornwall Chronicle 11th June 1842

THE SEA EAGLE (abridged)

The process of catching birds on the Cliffs of Moher goes on to a great extent in the summer months. It is often attended with great danger. To defend themselves against the formidable sea eagles the men carry long knives. Some six or eight years ago there was an encounter between a bird catcher and a sea eagle which nearly proved fatal to the former.

The man had been lowered from the top of the cliffs and hung suspended from the overhang when an eagle darted at him from out of a fissure in the rock. It commenced a furious attack. The bird catcher drew his knife and defended himself as best he could but the eagle was swift, deadly and persistent. Finally, he dispatched the bird. However the stroke that freed him from the creature also struck his rope nearly severing it. The unfortunate man was left suspended by a single twist of coil over the yawning abyss.

His friends above had perceived this predicament. Slowly, and with the greatest of caution they commenced pulling him up. It required the utmost skill to keep the fractured portion of the rope from chafing against the sharp edges of projecting rocks and snapping completely. The men on the cliff were in a state of anxiety scarcely less than the man beneath.

The rope snapped within an inch of the top, but not before one of the men had seized a firm grip of their friend’s clothing. They were able to drag him to safety. The awful situation was too much for the bird catcher; he lay stretched on the grass without sense or motion. So profound and lengthy was his insensibility that his companions thought he was dead.

It is said he has never completely recovered from the effects of that fearful hour.

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