WAUKEGAN, Ill. — A bald eagle, stuck on floating ice, was rescued Sunday morning in Waukegan Harbor.
At around 10 a.m., eight bird watchers were enjoying their morning at the harbor when they noticed the bald eagle on a thin piece of ice.
They immediately called the rescue organization Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, which has handled several bird rescues over the last 20 years throughout the area.
Founder Annette Prince was on the scene and they were told it looked like the bald eagle was very weak and couldn’t fly.
“That poor bird looked very dejected and it wouldn’t have made it,” Prince said. “It didn’t show the ability to fly.”
Prince was on a nearby dock as her colleague Jim Tibensky climbed into a kayak.
The group didn’t have an idea on exactly how to get the eagle out when they arrived, but a path became clear as Tibensky started paddling.
The group usually does rescues by hand, but it wasn’t safe for bald eagle to be recused by Tibensky in the middle of the water.
So, he started to notice the bald eagle was floating closer to the dock due to the wake being created by paddling.
“It was a brilliant strategy,” Prince said. “Almost on any rescue, you have to improvise as you go along.”
Once the bald eagle got close enough to the dock, it was scooped up safely in a net by the volunteers.
In the video, Prince holds the large bird and puts it in a cage to be sent for care at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glyn Ellen.
Prince told WGN News handling eagles can be very dangerous and it has to be done the right way.
“Calmly and with the right strength,” Prince said. “I felt pretty confident. The bird was very quiet and docile. You have to be in control of their feet and legs — firm hold on the legs.”
At Willowbrook, the eagle, who is thought to have ingested rat poison via its prey, is making a recovery.
Once it’s at full strength, the 3-year-old bald eagle will get released back into the wild. Right now, it’s getting treated with fluids and vitamin K to help the eagle’s blood clot again.
When asked what she would name it, Prince reverted to an Academy Award winning film.
“I would name it Rose or Jack from ‘The Titanic,'” she said. “It was really kind of sad.”
For more information or to donate to Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, visit birdmonitors.net.