Americans might be known for their love of the bald eagle. But the official bird and symbol of the United States also likes to call Canada home.

Emmett Blois was out river rafting when he and his friends spotted a bald eagle in trouble. They were on the Shubenacadie River in Nova Scotia when they noticed a group of bald eagles flying away because of a tidal bore but one didn’t. Instead, she got hit by a wave and couldn’t get out of the sand belt or water.

The bird was flapping and trying to get to safety when they pulled up alongside of her. They pulled her out of the water and they noticed her leg was injured so they opted to take her to Hope For Wildlife Rescue. Emmett said that as he held the eagle her heart was pounding hard but after around 15 minutes of holding her, her heart rate settled and she became surprisingly calm.

During the hour long trip back to shore, Emmett noted that the eagle’s eyes were the most beautiful he’d ever seen.

Once the eagle was in the care of Hope for Wildlife Rescue, they discovered that her leg had ligament damage. But once she was healed, Emmett was able to come and re-release her into the wild.

“It was huge,” said Blois. “It’s a wild animal. He’s got huge talons. I didn’t feel comfortable anyone else getting him beside myself just in case someone got hurt — I’d rather it would have been me. He bite me once but it didn’t hurt. It wasn’t bad. Just more of a shock. I wasn’t really afraid of him.”

Once Blois got the bird into the boat and wrapped it up in a sweater, they still had an hour to get back to the company’s lodge, where the folks from Hope For Wildlife were waiting to help.

“I kind of had my hand on his chest, and his heart was just pounding and then towards the end of trip, his heart slowed down,” said Blois.

Blois still doesn’t know if the animal is a male or female – although Blois suspects female from its size (females are typically larger than males) – and they’re waiting the outcome of x-rays to determine the extent of the injuries.

“His foot and leg was really, really swollen,” he said.



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