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Louisville man helps rescue bald eagle found in creek with lead poisoning, stomach injuries

By Amy Joseph Landon

Source: The Louisville Courier-Journal
By Ayana Archie
December 31, 2020

Louisville resident Eric Nalley found the eagle in a creek Wednesday. He called for help after realizing the bird was still alive.

An injured bald eagle spotted during an annual bird-watching hike at Bernheim Forest was taken to a bird rehabilitation center thanks to a hiker’s “eagle eye.”

Eric Nally was participating in the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest annual Christmas Bird Count when he encountered a bald eagle in a creek late Wednesday morning, he said.

The 36-year-old Louisville resident,who has done annual bird-watching hikes for the past four years, initially thought it was dead and feared the creature had been shot, but when he climbed down to the stream for a closer look, he said 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,” he said.

He then began contacting staff at Bernheim for help. They arrived “within a matter of minutes,” Nally said, and the rescue operation was soon underway.

The eagle sustained abdominal injuries and lead poisoning.

See also:Eagle populations are growing rapidly across Kentucky

The crew wrapped a blanket around the bird in order to prevent it from using its talon and beak but not before it managed a few pecks at one person, Nally said.

The eagle was put in a box and transported to Raptor Rehab, a bird rehabilitation center where the eagle is being treated.

It is unclear if the eagle will survive.

“Hopefully, this eagle will pull through and recover,” Nally said in his Facebook post. “It definitely had some fight left in it when the rescue efforts were underway.”

“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 Courier Journal. “It’s a little too early to tell.”

 

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