Lifestyle & Human Interest

Injured Bald Eagle Saved by Rescuers Using a Net, Dog Kennel and Sled


Rescuing an animal can require extraordinary effort. Mull over the all-too-common occurrence of a cat stuck in a tree.

Though it may take an adventuresome feline mere moments to scramble up a limb, it may require hours of effort for people to rescue Fluffy. Ladders get dragged out of sheds as owners try to coax the kitty down.

The fire department shows in an attempt to corral the anxious animal. And if there’s an injury, a trip to the vet will be in order.

Well, as much work as securing a domestic pet might take, things get even more difficult when trying to save wildlife. Just consider what happened in Colorado’s Eleven Mile State Park on Feb. 17.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, a man who lived near Eleven Mile Canyon decided to take his dog for a Sunday walk. But during the stroll, he noticed something strange.

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A large bald eagle was perched on a precipitously low branch, and it looked injured. So the individual told a neighbor and they worked to see if they could safely corral the bird and get help for it.

Wanting to be a good Samaritan is a wonderful thing, but the next thing the two people knew, they’d scared the hurt bird into a drainage culvert.

That was when they decided they needed professional help. The Denver Post reported that they called Teller County to report the incident, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer Joe Kraudelt showed up to help.

Kraudelt is no stranger to aiding injured wildlife. He has volunteered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife since 1990.

This case, though, was something different. For one thing, the bald eagle was large and could seriously hurt someone if it got a mind to.

“I’m always very cautious with a big raptor like this,” Kraudelt said. “I have picked up numerous hawks that were injured and also a golden eagle, and they’re usually much more intense and aggressive.”

There was another challenge, too. The culvert was tiny.

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It measured a mere 24 inches in diameter and stretched for a length of 20 feet. It was the perfect place for a hurt eagle to hide — but not so great for the people trying to save it.

Kraudelt and the neighbors decided to get creative to apprehend the bird. One of the neighbors squeezed into the tiny tube.

Kraudelt stood at the other end, a net at the ready. When they finally snagged the bird with a net after three long hours, they popped it into a dog kennel and pushed it on a sled through a nearby forest.

“We worked three hours until finally I was able to get my net over it,” Kraudelt said. “One of the guys grabbed its wings and I grabbed its talons and we put it in our dog crate. It was a real team effort.”

“This is a great example of the dedicated work of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s volunteers,” Teller County CPW officer Tim Kroening said. “They care so deeply for the wildlife and will go out in terrible weather on weekends and holidays to help perform a rescue like this. Our agency, and the wildlife of Colorado, are so fortunate to have committed volunteers like Joe.”

The injured creature was then taken to Catamount Wildlife Center in Woodland Park for evaluation. Though it has a bruised wing and a missing claw from a talon, the bird is expected to recover fully at the Wildlife and Nature Discovery Center’s raptor campus in Pueblo.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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