Bald eagles are not only one of North America’s most widely recognized birds of prey, but they’re the official national bird and a symbol of freedom for the United States. That’s why it’s so sad these regal creatures once faced extinction in the contiguous United States due to hunting and pesticides.
Thankfully, after the widespread efforts of wildlife and conservation organizations, bald eagle populations have recovered and the species is no longer endangered… with the exception of one bird, at least.
In Pennsylvania, a woman was shocked when she spied a bald eagle struggling with what appeared to be a trap painfully clamped onto his foot. Now, locals and wildlife experts alike are trying to locate him before it’s too late…
Not only are bald eagles the official national bird of the United States, but they’re a sign of freedom and one of the most recognizable birds of prey in existence. Important and noble as they may be, they once faced local extinction.
With the help and aid of conservationists and different wildlife organizations alike, the bald eagle has gone on to make a complete 180 degree turn and it’s no longer considered an endangered species. That’s a remarkable comeback!
That’s why one woman in Pennsylvania was shocked to discover a bald eagle struggling with a hunter’s trap tightly clamped to his foot in the woods near her home. She tried to approach the ailing bird, but he flew away before she could help. Wildlife officials immediately took steps to locate him before it was too late.
The woman snapped a series of concerning photographs of the bald eagle’s predicament. How the poor thing’s legs had become ensnared in a dangerous hunter’s trap was unknown, but it was obviously a perilous situation for the bird, who relied on his talons to survive.
AP / Susan Boardman
The woman’s pictures circulated among wildlife organizations and caretakers, and locals knew they needed to keep their eyes open in order to save this poor guy. With his talons stuck in the clamp, experts said that the eagle couldn’t hunt, perch, or eat. He could easily die if he wasn’t saved in time.
Facebook / Wendy Ebersole Looker
When the news broke, a wildlife caretaker and raptor expert named Wendy Ebersole Looker offered to care for the bird if he was captured. She wanted to be sure that an animal that had been through so much already didn’t find himself back on the endangered species list.
AP / Susan Boardman
Still, chances were slim. “There’s really not much the average person can do,” Wendy pointed out. What was more: wildlife experts believed the trap was likely set up in the woods illegally; they’re supposed to be tacked down and hidden from a bird’s hunting view.
AP / Susan Boardman
Some people reported seeing a nest with a missing male about half of a mile away from where the eagle was first spotted. Given this, the stakes for this eagle were even higher: if the male belonged there, his mate could eventually abandon their home before mating season was over in order to find another mate to help her successfully produce offspring.
Finally, there was some good news! “I got a message from the Game Commission late last night,” explained Karen Lippy, a local birdwatcher. “It said that watchers on the ground have confirmed that the eagle with the trap on its talon has managed to remove the trap. It was seen on the ground and appears to be walking with great difficulty.”
“The local warden has placed road kills in the area of the nest which will be monitored with game cameras,” Karen continued. “If it is determined that the eagle still needs care, it will then be trapped. There is hope that it will recover on its own and be able to stay with its mate.” Phew!
Hopefully, this great bird of prey was able to mate! Maybe his story will teach people to be more careful when they’re setting traps.
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