Kentucky man rescues injured bald eagle during bird count

By Amy Joseph Landon

Source: AP
January 1, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man participating in an annual bird-watching hike helped rescue an injured bald eagle on Wednesday, The Courier Journal reported.

Eric Nally was participating in the Christmas Bird Count at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, about a half hour south of Louisville, when he spotted the eagle in a creek, he said.

Nally thought the bird was dead and feared it had been shot, but when he climbed down to the creek bed for a closer look, the bird turned its head to look at him.

“We had rain coming in about an hour, and sitting in a creek bed, I knew it needed to get out of the creek bed or it was going to drown, so I was kind of fearful of that,” Nally said.

He contacted staff at Bernheim who arrived within minutes to help, wrapping a blanket around the bird to prevent it from scratching and pecking them before putting it in a box and transporting it to Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky.

The bald eagle was found to be suffering from lead poisoning and had internal damage to its abdomen. A post on the Raptor Rehabilitation Facebook page said lead poisoning is common in bald eagles because they “scavenge on carrion and gut piles left by hunters, and eat fish that contain lead due to lead sinkers left in waterways.”

The post said the eagle’s prognosis is “guarded.”

“I think everybody’s optimistic, but we don’t really know long term, at this point, if it’s going to pull through or not,” Nally told the newspaper. “It’s a little too early to tell.”

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