Couple rescues bald eagle in Ft. Myers

 This time of year when food becomes more scarce, many raptors such as eagles and hawks will take to feeding off of road kill. This in itself can be hazardous because they can become injured by passing vehicles as they try to feed. Recently near Ft. Meyers, Florida, a man and his wife discovered a lifeless bald eagle lying on the ground near the road. Upon closer inspection, they discovered that he was still alive, probably in shock and breathing hard.

Jim Falk called 911 to report the bird and to get some help for it. Buzzards were already starting to circle above so there wasn't much time left to spare in saving the eagle's life. When Fish & Wildlife services arrived, Jim, who is a former Navy Veteran, helped to rescue the eagle.

The eagle was then taken to Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda, Florida. It was discovered that the bird had a minor head injury and was dehydrated from his ordeal. The veterinarian gave the eagle fluids and anti-inflammatory medicine. By Sunday the eagle was recovering quickly and in good condition. Plans were made to release him back into the wild by Monday afternoon. All ended well for the majestic eagle because a concerned citizen stopped and took the time to help him.

How To Rescue A Raptor by Jan Rethorst

In the northeastern U.S., the influx of birds to rehab centers fluctuates with the seasons. Fall and winter bring in illegally shot birds and those starving from the hardships of winter. Spring and summer have proven to be the time in which we get most of our patients, young and old. There are always orphaned owlets and eyas hawks that have fallen or been blown out of their nests. Meanwhile, parent birds are out there desperately and, sometimes, too daringly hunting for enough food to feed all the hungry mouths of their brood.

Whether they don't take the time to look before they cross or they have found a nice morsel of road kill, their timing is sometimes off and, unfortunately, many of them are hit by vehicles. If the parents are successful in raising those bright new wonderful babies, then they find they have produced ignorant klutzy fledglings who don't know about cars and don't have the strength or skill to avoid them (and, for some, not even trees or other stationary obstacles in their flight path). Pesticides are more prevalent and the list of hazards continues. Fortunately for the birds, there are concerned individuals (like many of you reading this) who have and/or will take time out of their busy schedules to help a bird in distress.

Now, not all of us are as spontaneous as the man who bare-handedly rescued the drowning gunshot eagle from the river near our center. This is probably a good thing as a raptor can inflict pain upon any flesh you make available to it if the bird is not handled carefully. With that in mind, we would like to offer some suggestions as to how to retrieve, temporarily care for, and transport an injured bird of prey.

Sometimes, just knowing if a bird needs help is hard to assess. It is not uncommon for baby birds of all types to fall from their nests. In fact, their parents are very likely to continue caring for them on the ground. Eventually, the babies might find a bush, or a pine tree with low growing branches, or a fallen tree on which they can find their way back off the ground and continue calling, alerting their parents to their location.

However, the ground can be dangerous for a defenseless baby if there are cats, dogs, or other predators around to find it. If you discover a young bird in this situation and it seems uninjured, place it back as close to its nest as possible, or on a branch. If the bird is unable to perch yet, place it in a container (small box or strawberry carton) attached to the tree. Kestrels and some of the owls are cavity nesters and it may be hard to find their nest or the adult birds. Keep an eye on the youngster from your house or a hidden location and see if its cries bring the parents. If you are unable to locate the nest area or see no signs of activity from the parents, it's time to get it to a rehabber. Keep in mind, though, that no matter how healthy we can keep it even with surrogate parents, rehabbers cannot do what parents in the wild can do when it's time for the young to fledge and begin finding food.

If you find an injured bird, remember that a stunned bird may look unable to move or get away, but, while you take the time to dig through your garage for the right materials to rescue it, the bird, meanwhile, can come to and, unable to fly, will run into the woods and deep cover. If there is anyone else around, have one person stay with the bird to see that it doesn't go anywhere or, if it does, to follow it and keep track of its location. If you are away from home and alone, use your jacket to catch it and worry about the box, etc. later.

Many times, we get calls from people asking us to come and rescue a bird, but, by the time we drive to the site, the bird has disappeared. Now, what was it you were digging through your garage for a paragraph ago? Right, raptor rescue items, which should include, an empty cardboard box (with an old towel, if you have one, for the bird to stand or lay, belly down on); a heavy pair of gloves, such as welding gloves, garden gloves, or some type of thick leather gloves; and a second towel, jacket or blanket. With the towel, jacket or blanket, you can stand out of the bird's reach and toss the cover over its head. This will do two things.

First, it will take away the bird's vision so that it should calm down and, if nothing else, prevent it from seeing your approach. Secondly, it gives the bird something to grab onto besides you. Now you can retrieve the bird, wearing the gloves, by coming from behind, grabbing the body with the wings pinned to the sides, and placing it right into a box. Once the bird is in the cardboard box, remove the covering from its head and close it securely. If the bird is not in your backyard and you have nothing to put it in, there are a couple of options. If the tossed towel or jacket is doing its job, the bird will keep its legs still. You can then slide your hands down toward the bird's legs and hold onto them, using your forearms to pin the wings against the bird's body.


Responses to "Injured Bald Eagle rescued by Florida couple (Video)"

  1. Phoenix says:

    Good work, folks! ;-)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful rescue! They must feel proud!

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