Video: Rescuers Save Bald Eagle Trapped On Icy Lake
When the polar vortex hit in early 2019, it left many victims in its path including a full grown bald eagle looking for a meal on Lake Michigan in Leelanau County.
As spectators watched, four eagles stopped to brunch at the edge of the lake, but only three lifted back into the air when mealtime was over.
Indeed one of these majestic symbols of American freedom was earthbound and could not seem to lift off from the lake.
A call was immediately placed to the nonprofit group, Wings of Wonder. Dedicated to raptor education, rehabilitation and research, this group hosted the ideal rescuers to ensure the trapped eagle would fly once again.
Springing into action, volunteers Ken Scott and Chris Johnson headed down to the lake to see how they could help this bird return to the skies.
Approaching an adult bald eagle is no simple task. While the average weight of these birds runs between 6 to 14 pounds, their wingspan is approximately 6 to 8 feet.
Paired with a wickedly sharp beak and huge talons for grasping prey and a bald eagle isn’t your easiest rescue.
Scott and Johnson, however, were up for the challenge. Wearing protective gear such as long leather gloves and carrying a blanket to help wrap the bird in, they approached the eagle cautiously and herded him into a crate.
Once captured, it was apparent the cause of the eagle’s strange behavior. Tangled in its long brown tail feathers was a massive ball of snow and ice.
Hoping the mass would melt overnight, the rescuers left the eagle in the crate overnight at the rescue center near a heat vent.
Alas, further intervention would be needed therefore Jim Manly, another volunteer, assisted both Scott and Johnson as they used a manual method to defrost the bird’s feathers—warm water poured over the ball of ice. 'That cold was so extreme I think the ice just formed so quickly he wasn’t able to get out of the ice.' Manly later told 9 & 10 News.
The eagle was finally free of his conundrum! Noting the healthy weight and size of the bird, Wings of Wonder planned to release the eagle on the 10th of February back into the wild. Have you ever seen a wild animal rescue up close and personal?
Post your story in the comments below. If you were impressed by this rescue story, pass it on to your animal loving friends today.