A seriously injured bald eagle now has a bionic beak, thanks to modern technology

Beauty the bald eagle was shot in the face by a poacher, which damaged her beak badly enough that she couldn’t eat on her own.

Animal rescue workers found her before she starved to death, and volunteers at the nonprofit group Birds of Prey Northwest nursed her back to health via tube-feeding and, later, hand-feeding with forceps. But it became increasingly clear that her beak was never going to grow back — meaning that Beauty would never be able to feed herself. She was on track to be euthanized.

But raptor specialist Jane Fink Cantwell, who dresses like Indiana Jones, refused to take “dead bald eagle” for an answer. She joined forces with mechanical engineer Nate Calvin of Kinetic Engineering Group, and together with other scientists, engineers, and even a dentist, they designed a nylon polymer beak that would perfectly replace Beauty’s lost upper mandible.

Calvin developed the new beak using a 3-D modeling program, then used a 3-D printer to fabricate it. After an arduous procedure to attach her prosthetic, Beauty was able to eat, drink, and preen herself on her own.

Beauty’s new beak isn’t secure enough for her to return to the wild, so Cantwell is still caring for her. But she’s a lot more self-sufficient than she was — and her case may help pave the way for making better prosthetics for wildlife in the future.

Beauty, before and after implantation of her prosthetic upper mandible. Image: Jane Fink Cantwell/Birds of Prey Northwest.

Beauty the bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, after her prosthetic beak had been fixed into place.

Computer model of Beauty's prosthetic upper mandible. Image courtesy of Kinetic Engineering Group.

VIDEO Beauty and the Beak

Responses to "Injured bald eagle gets new 3-D printed beak (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Makes me very happy!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see a story with a happy ending. I'm seeing too many lately where the animals are abused and suffering; it brings me down. :-( - Kathy Niell

  3. Anonymous says:

    Abolutely fantastic and beautiful!

  4. Bevan O'Brien says:

    Awersome work, congratulations on your efforts

  5. Anonymous says:

    With all the pain in the world its great to see some good at last. Well done ,in my book you guys are Gold medalists.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Excellent!!! i greeting your effort!, from Venezuela, samscarpato@yahoo.com

  7. Anonymous says:

    Amazing love and work. Thanks to those who cared enough to not give up and try inspite of naysayers. Showed the video and shared the story with my grandchildren, Native children. Will continue to share. Idaho was our home for several years. Love the work they have done for our birds of prey.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting. Make a mold from the sla model. One with a hard shell. Take epoxy resin and chopped strand carbon fiber and mix it into a paste with a small ammount of milled glass. Align the molds and clamp them closed making sure there is good compression on the part. This will yield a part that has similar qualities to bone and it might allow you to release her. The current stock of sla plastics just aren't strong enough. I make gun parts this way...because I live in america...where I can. Great story. Trite social commentary.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I was doing stereo lithography back in the early 90's, what an interesting application and modeling that beak was quite a feat! It would have been better if the fool that shot the gun had not shot the eagle to begin with.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Great story and very moving, right up until the last paragraph. Why you had ruin a story that warms the heart and makes you feel good about what has been done for this beautiful bird with a lame "metaphor about America" comment is beyond me. Why not let us revel in the story and keep your personal views out of it? What should have been a heartwarming story left me with a negative vibe at the end. What a shame

  11. Anonymous says:

    what an awesome job you guys did and how wonderful that beauty is able to preen herself and eat again. By the way if you are whining about the end of the story GOOD. There's been enough of those kind of post with the eagle with the tearing up over other silly social commentary as someone put it that it is good to see this Beauty shed tears of joy with her new face which was taken away from her by a thoughtless jerk.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Brought tears to my eyes. And hope for future injured animals and Joy they helped the Eagle

  13. This is a wonderful ending for a bird that was hurt by a mean violent person. If they do it to a animal or bird would not be hard them to do it to a human or worse. Where I live I see abused animals all the time I rescue what I can but there is just no way I can rescue all but we have some wonderful people here that do as I do. An animal or bird or other living creatures seem to be toss aways like so much trash. Thank God for these that help this majestic bird.

  14. Anonymous says:

    God gave talent to the right people to bring beauty back to almost beauty self. Kuddoos to all who work with injured animals at the hand of man. Shame on you

  15. Anonymous says:

    Now im proud at im human because av this

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wow what a wonderful story, God bless you Beauty and the people who just wouldn't give up in helping you. ♥ ♥

  17. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful ending to this story. I'm so happy everything came out so perfect. This was awesome.

  18. Grey Wolf says:


  19. Tremendously good effort! Now what about all the people ...?

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