A frozen eagle is back in the air thanks to a Good Samaritan and the Atlantic Veterinary College.
Veterinarian Marion Desmarchelier said freezing rain grounded the young bald eagle after covering the bird in ice more than two weeks ago, but someone found it and took it to the vet college for treatment.
“Now he’s ready to go back to the wild,” she said.
Desmarchelier joined intern Adriana Nielsen and veterinary technician Jody Kocsis at the AVC Tuesday for the eagle’s release.
During its stay at the college, the eagle got enough space to stretch its wings in its pen where it waited on a perch until staff approached it with blankets and wrapped it up.
From there, Nielsen and Kocsis brought it to a cage big enough to hold a large dog before it left for the Cardigan area.
As soon as the blanket was off, the eagle spread his wings and tried to fly away from his handler who had a firm grip on its legs before she managed to get it under control and into the cage.
Desmarchelier said the people who found the eagle followed his tracks in the snow before wrapping it up in a blanket.
The eagle couldn’t fly because of the ice, which Desmarchelier said was a common occurrence for birds.
“It’s a cause of mortality for the wildlife,” she said.
Desmarchelier said if birds aren’t protected from the wind the ice doesn’t take long to build up on their feathers, which keeps them from flying and she compared it to an oil spill.
“It’s so quick,” she said.
Eventually the birds die of starvation.
Once the people found the eagle they kept it inside overnight and Desmarchelier said they kept it quiet until they took it to the vet college.
“They did a great job,” she said.
That was a good thing because it couldn’t have been released the next day due to dehydration and a few small injuries that needed treatment, Desmarchelier said.
“The bird’s lucky that they finally brought it to the college the next day.”
Desmarchelier said the eagle wasn’t a stranger to the college because he was part of a banding program last year so they know he was a little less than a year old and was born on Covehead Road.
The trip to Cardigan was because that’s where he was found and Desmarchelier said people spotted him with another eagle so he was probably with one of his parents.
“It’s better to release him closer to where he was found.”