On September 8, a fisherman found the most unlikely of fishing partners when he pulled an injured bald eagle from waters off of Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, Canada. After seeing that the bird was in distress, the fisherman began videotaping the eagle, not knowing how serious the injuries. Noticing the eagle swimming towards his boat, the fisherman joked that he would throw the bird a life jacket, but quickly realized that the situation was more serious than he had thought. The eagle clearly needed assistance, and swam towards the fisherman’s boat, in what looks like a plea for help.
Using a net, the fisherman pulled the eagle onto his boat in hopes that the bird just needed some rest. In the video, the fisherman affectionately jokes that the bird is the strangest fishing partner he’s ever had. After allowing the eagle time to rest for a few hours, it was clear the bird needed more than some down time. The video shows the bird is in distress as it is fairly motionless, and appears to be hiding in the corner of the man’s boat. Seeing the bird needed more help than he could offer, the fisherman called a volunteer who flew the eagle to the OWL Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Delta, British Columbia, Canada.
Upon arrival, veterinarians first thought the bird was simply exhausted and hungry, but as the days passed, the bird’s condition worsened, and doctors determined it had an infection. Stating that they never name their rescues so they don’t get attached, veterinarians call this amazing eagle 14-368, and give it a 50/50 chance of survival. Vets are unsure what caused the mystery infection making it difficult to treat.
The OWL center is busy taking in over 500 birds of prey each year. In fact, birds of prey have a 60% mortality rate in the first year due to the demands of surviving in the wild. Doctors say the reason for this is because birds of prey must learn to hunt and fly at the same time. These birds often attempt to grab fish that are too large, but their survival instincts do not allow them to let go. When this happens, birds can be pulled underwater, and injured. Doctors treating 14-368 said that if the bird had not been rescued by the fisherman, it would have assuredly drowned.
Veterinarians at the OWl center are hopeful that with rest, proper nutrition and a lot of antibiotics, the bird will fully recover. The eagle’s young age may also prove beneficial as it has a better likelihood of surviving trauma. Before it can be released back into the wild, though, doctors say the bird will need months of rehabilitation, and will then be returned to Nanoose Bay where it was rescued.
What do you think?