by General Fabb
Grist reports on a touching story involving an American Bald Eagle, injured years ago by a poacher's shotgun, who has had its beak replaced by a 3D printed equivalent.
The injured bird was rescued by animal workers and gradually brought back to health. However, it turns out that the beak is an essential component to successful bird feeding. And this eagle's beak was damaged beyond repair by the shotgun blast.
They kept the bird in a Birds of Prey Northwest shelter, feeding it by hand as the eagle was unable to do so itself. Normally this situation leads ultimately to euthanizing the subject, but in this case staff had access to 3D design printing skills and equipment.
They designed a replacement beak and 3D printed it in nylon. The beak now permits the bird to feed itself, but the beak is considered insufficient for use in the wild.