BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The bald eagle may be a national symbol, but when a bird gets in trouble, it takes local help to rescue.
Alex DeMetrick reports that’s what happened in Anne Arundel County.
If a bald eagle can’t fly, it can’t feed or protect itself. That’s the dire spot an injured eagle found itself in Anne Arundel County.
“I think because it was out there so long without a lot of nourishment, it was getting weaker and didn’t fight me too much,” said David Houchin, a bird rescue volunteer.
Houchin is a Maryland volunteer with the Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research Center in Delaware. He responded when outdoorsman Adam Glasgow spotted the injured eagle, and the pair captured it after following the panicked bird through some very thick undergrowth near Davidsonville.
After it was netted, Houchin covered its head with a towel.
“And then, I sort of slide my hands down the side of it so I can feel the legs, and then I go down to the feet, and once I have the feet, I know I won’t get hit by the talons,” he explained.
When eagles are in trouble, people will go to extraordinary lengths to save them.
A few years back, U.S. Park Police saved a pair of young eagles trapped in the mud.
“We’re down about a one foot hover over the mud. I’m down on the skid and I’m reaching back and grabbing the bird something like that,” said a rescuer.
Both those eagles were eventually brought back to health and released into the wild.
But not all fare so well. One bald eagle brought to the Baltimore Zoo suffered an injury similar to the one in Davidsonville.
“There’s trauma to his left elbow,” said a zoo keeper. “There’s a fracture right down at the joint we can’t surgically repair.”
The eagle rescued this week was too severely injured for veterinarians at Tri-State to save. Not the happy ending hoped for.
“No, but the happy ending is we got the bird out of a stressful situation,” Houchin said. “I mean, you’re out in the wild and you’re injured and you don’t know what’s going to be trying to get you. So we did the right thing.”
It’s not clear how the bald eagle was injured. It’s speculated it could have flown into an overhead line, or even hit by a car while scavenging on a roadway.