Friends help in eagle rescueASHLAND – Sometimes it really pays to have friends.
By: For the Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
ASHLAND – Sometimes it really pays to have friends.
When a neighbor of the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center reported sighting an injured bald eagle on the edge of center property, the partners who staff the NGLVC came to the rescue.
Mike Mlynarek of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge confirmed the eagle’s condition and then called a colleague who provided a crate to transport the bird safely. That turned out to be the easy part.
Jeff Simon, who works for the Friends of the Center Alliance LTD., and Bill Route from the National Park Service, came to Mlynarek’s assistance as they wrestled with how to convince the eagle to get into a crate. Luckily, Simon remembered that his friend, Northland College student and Fish and Wildlife intern, Mariah Cook, had experience handling mature bald eagles gained from her time performing work at the Northwoods Wildlife Center in Minocqua.
Cook drove out to the eagle’s location and a plan was developed. The plan – Mlynarek and Simon moved in on the bird from the sides while Cook and Bill walked at it from the back and front. As they approached, the eagle got a little frisky and tried to run/hop its way through some saplings, brush and barbed wire along the road. Bill stood his ground and kept the eagle at bay, however he did suffer a cut on his fingers from the talons. Cook stayed calm and slowly moved in on the bird as it hissed with its open beak and talons up in the air looking for something to grab. She, with the help of Bill, got the bird under control and held its ankles before putting a blanket over its head.
Cook grabbed its ankles and picked it up against her chest where it remained calm. The blanket partially blew off at least once in the strong wind and Cook and the eagle were face to face before she was assisted with covering the eagle. She seemed unconcerned to be nose to beak with a bald eagle.
By late afternoon, the bird was being examined and fed at the Northwoods Wildlife Center. It is too early to tell if the injuries to its radius bone and ankle will heal well enough so it can be released back into the wild.