Courier work can be challenging, with long hours spent on the road transporting goods back and forth. Sometimes, though, a job comes along with a bit of a twist – an interesting story, something outside the ordinary.
Bathgate-based Eagle Couriers, Scotland’s leading courier firm, are working on one such job right now. They’re used to moving goods for consumers and businesses, but over the past year or so they’ve taken on some very unusual cargo: deceased birds of prey. Read on for more on how one business delivered over 40 specimens in the past year.
Let’s get the obvious question out of the way first. Who would need so many dead birds of prey? In fact, who would need any? The answer lies in the University of Edinburgh’s Royal School of Veterinary Studies, where graduate students and faculty have created a major spike in demand for samples.
In a nutshell, PhD candidate Gabriela Peniche tests the birds to determine their cause of death. She then looks closer at this information to learn about the toxins in the surrounding environment. In this way, Eagle Courier’s work goes beyond the birds to actually help out the entire ecosystem.
University researchers can do a lot, but they’d probably struggle to gather their own samples – especially when the project involves analysing birds from all over Scotland. That’s where Eagle Couriers come in, making use of a top-level delivery network to gather specimens from as far out as the Western Isles and Orkney.
But not all dead birds of prey discovered get sent to the team. Any found in ‘suspicious circumstances’ must be given to the police or the RSPCA to begin an investigation into any foul play. Once the investigation has closed, the sample can then be taken by an Eagle driver to the university.
Responses and Reactions
It’s a little out of the ordinary for courier work, but Eagle was happy to take up the job. In fact, co-director Fiona Deas described working with the university as a ‘privilege’. Eagle is, she says, ‘passionate about conservation’, and sees its cooperation with the project as part of its broader environmental efforts.
As for what it’s like to move wild animals, including peregrine falcons and golden eagles, Deas keeps it simple: ‘We’ve seen it all,’ she said.
Peniche also took time out of her PhD programme to single out her drivers for praise. ‘These sorts of deliveries obviously pose issues,’ she noted, but went on to add that Eagle Couriers had drivers all over the country and have been able to make the project run very smoothly.
It’s always a good thing to get complimented on your courier work, and the fact that both sides seem so happy about their collaboration on this project speaks to their healthy working relationship. What’s more, as Peniche notes, the company name fits perfectly! ‘The cherry on the cake really is the novelty of being able to say my eagles are brought in by Eagle Couriers.’
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.