Wildlife Watch: US Marine Carries Baby Bald Eagle 3 Miles to Safety

Posted by on September 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm

eagle juvenile release

by Lisa Horn, Executive Director of West Sound Wildlife Shelter, with Julie Hall

In late August a U.S. Marine fishing on the Quilcene River came upon a bald eaglet struggling in the water. Concerned, he immediately called Cindy Daily at the Discovery Bay Raptor Center in Port Townsend for advice. She instructed him to cover the eagle’s head with a blanket or towel as a calming technique and bring it in.

The Marine hiked for over 3 miles carrying the young eagle to get it to a vehicle for transport to the Raptor Center.

A few days later, a home owner found in her back yard a bald eaglet that appeared to have fallen out of its nest. She also called Daily and helped get the young raptor to safe haven.

female juvenile eagle

Female juvenile eagle

Daily sought help from West Sound Wildlife Shelter on Bainbridge Island to rehabilitate the two eagles in our state-of-the-art flight enclosure.

On August 24 the eagles arrived. They were this year’s hatchlings, most likely a male and female. The eaglets were in great health, aside from being just a bit on the chubby side, and we were excited to allow them to spread their wings in our 2,800-square-foot enclosure.

The young raptors quickly regained their strength and honed their flying skills. Within a month they were ready to return to the wild.

Daily chose the Dungeness National Wildlife Reserve in Sequim for their release. What made the release particularly moving was that the wonderful people who rescued these majestic birds were there to participate in their return to the wild. Both opened the crates the eagles had been transported in.

Male juvenile eagle

Male juvenile eagle

The male eagle ran out and immediately took flight, soaring high above the 40 spectators who came to witness the event. He was met by a Harrier Hawk looking to defend its territory but was left to fly on with just a warning. The female flew from her crate and soared high and fast immediately. It was a perfect release.

Want to volunteer for, donate to, or learn more about West Sound Wildlife Shelter? Contact us at 206-855-9057.

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Photos courtesy of Dottie Tison. 

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