A Queen Among the Audience

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By Mette Kirstine Goddiksen

The sea eagle egg with Margrethe inside was laid on the Queens birthday in 1990. And out came a true Majesty with iron will and a penchant for classical music.
Margrethe was only a 14 days old ball of down when Eagleworld celebrated its 10th anniversary. The world-famous pianist, Nina Kavtaradze, played on her Steinway on the occasion, and amidst the celebration was little Margrethe and enjoyed the beautiful tones in full. And ever since she has found peace in classical music.


Extremely trusting
Margrethe has been accustomed to humans from when she was young, and visitors to Eagleworld have for two decades admired her special trust and close relationship to humans. She has given indelible memories to the audience when she has sat among them and with royal arrogance enjoyed the show of the day as if she were human. She almost sees the rest of the audience as thin air: She is completely comfortable with and unaffected as she sits among her human subjects.

Hold on to hats, glasses, jackets and cameras
But like so many other Majesties she wanted to go on adventure in her youth, and Frank Wenzel had to keep an eye on her when she sat among the audience. Unless Frank had direct eye contact with her, she could suddenly fly away with people's belongings, pull their clothes or tweak at their fingers. She pushed all limits, which often caused great jubilation among the visitors - perhaps with the exception of the person whose clogs or camera Margrethe disappeared with beyond the landscape.


Careful with children
Margrethe is a clever white-tailed eagle, and even though she was quite provoking in her youth, she never wants to hurt anybody. At one single occasion Margrethe jumped on to a little child's bare feet, and seeing the eight centimetres long claws on the small, fragile feet was frightening. But the child did not get as much as a scratch. Margrethe simply felt that she should tread carefully. She was less careful when it got to Frank. Here she would test the limits.


Tore Frank's ear
Margrethe's great amusement was to trick Frank when they trained. She often teased him by flying noiselessly from behind and from the other direction of what he expected - and then brush him. Once she fell in love with Frank's ear: The tiny flap on the side of his head was quite tempting to grasp, so she did. It was a quite innocent game for Margrethe, but when a white-tailed eagle with a wingspan of three meters wants to play with your ear, you end up in hospital. Luckily there were quite a few skilled doctors ready at Hjørring Hospital, and they saved Frank's ear - and could write a rather peculiar health record that day.


Quiet mom with the years
When Margrethe was breeding mature, she became quieter, and she is today mother of eight other white-tailed eagles. And she gets one more every year through artificial insemination. She is today a very caring mother, maybe a bit surprisingly due to her wild youth. When she got her first baby bird, she gave up to care for it. Frank take a part of the blame because he says he was busy filming and photographing the first hatching. He thinks she left the baby bird and the obligations to him because he came too close and thereby created unfortunate roles. Frank did however respond to her signals, and the baby, named Freja, is today at least as big and strong as her mother.


Flies with an altitude of two kilometres
Margrethe has become a big star at Eagleworld, partly because her tremendous strength and excellent flying technique. For instance she spellbound a group of Americans who saw her during the Rebild Festival, where the weather conditions were perfect for the master flyer Margrethe. The Americans, who were trained glider pilots, judged Margrethe's flight altitude to no less than 2.000 metres judged by the clouds she disappeared behind. They explained that in the USA the eagle is the ultimate symbol of freedom - and that with every reason as Margrethe just had demonstrated.


Bird of the people
But it is not only Margrethe's unusual strength that has made her popular. Her unusual personality and life in harmony with humans makes her a favourite among the audience. As a result many people return to Eagleworld again and again to meet her. She receives Christmas cards, and at one occasion a lady, who was going to have a farewell reception at her job, that the money instead should be given to Margrethe at Eagleworld. Margrethe is in her prime, and when she is not hatching the next generation of great personalities, she attends the shows. Maybe she will sit right next to you …