Yesterday, during the snowstorm, we received a call from one of our longtime ‘Friends of CNC’Â who lives up the valley. There was an injured eagle sitting in the snow near her birdfeeders. As a formerÂ Carpenter Nature CenterÂ wildlifeÂ rehabilitation volunteer she knows eagles and injured animals. The adult eagle wouldn’t fly when it was approached and there was nobody at the residence physcially able to capture it to transport it to The Raptor Center.Â Carpenter Nature Center is extremely short-staffed due to funding cuts and we usuallyÂ cannotÂ rescue injured animals. Typically we work withÂ the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota and The Raptor Center at UMN to help get the injured animals to the appropriate facility.Â Unfortunately yesterday the road conditions in St. Paul were so bad that the regular rescue volunteers couldn’t get out to rescue the eagle. As we were already in the area we decided to give it a try.
Â Jim Nielsen (CNC advisory board member), Jen Vieth (CNC Development Director) and Pam Cook (CNC volunteer) went to the residence and assessed the situation. The eagle looked pretty bad, with dried blood all over its face. He was hunched over, his feathers were fluffed up, but his light yellow eyes were wary and alert.Â We decided he did need to be captured instead of spending another evening in the wet and cold snow.
We formed a plan to surround him and Jen would come from the downhill side to capture him. The plan lasted about 26 seconds as the eagle ducked under a fallen tree and ran through the woods towards the river and a neighbor’s house.
After a very snowy chase down the hill we ended up capturing him right beside a sculpture. It was quite a surprise for the neighbors to see three people bursting through the quiet, snowy woods towards their home to wrestle an eagle to theÂ groundÂ in front of their patio window!
We loadedÂ the eagleÂ into a crate and into Jim’s truck for the drive back toÂ Carpenter Nature Center. By the time we got him back to CNC the roadsÂ were clearing enough that The Raptor Center was able to send aÂ WONDERFUL volunteer to pick the bird up and take it back to the clinic. (THANK YOU!!!)
While the eagle didn’t look good, and smelled worse, we knew his best chance of survival was getting to The Raptor Center’s clinic as soon as possible. We’ve got our fingers crossed that he is ‘repairable’.
An update from Dr. Juli Ponder at The Raptor CenterÂ 3/25/11:
“The eagle is alive, has puncture wounds (suspect territorial dispute) and a coracoid fracture. As well as low level lead poisoning. It is being treated for the lead poisoning and coracoid fracture, receiving wound care and supportive treatment (not yet eating well on its own). At this point, we have not identified anything that would lead us to believe the eagleâ€™s treatment will not be a success.”