The bald eagle is the official national bird and symbol of our country, so when one Kansas police sergeant was determined to do whatever it took to rescue a bald eagle struggling to fly.
This past week, Sgt. Justin Antle, range master for the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, received a call about an American Bald Eagle that was either too sick or too injured to fly. Antle immediately went to the spot near a lake where the bird was last seen and quickly spotted the bird.
“You could tell that it was injured,” Antle said. “It did not want to fly up at all.” The bird wouldn’t let Antle get close to him and would try to fly away, however, it would only make it about ten feet off the ground before having to land again. Antle knew he wouldn’t be able to catch the bald eagle on his own, so he called Ken Lockwood, program director for the Eagle Walley Raptor Center, for help.
On his way over, Lockwood stopped at the Sedgwick County Fire Department and enlisted the help of two firefighters since bald eagles can be incredibly hard to catch even when unable to fly. “Even when they can’t fly, they run like jack rabbits,” Lockwood said. “They do. They run like crazy.”
After two hours, the group managed to catch the male eagle and Lockwood quickly examined the bird before sending it to the veterinary school at Kansas State University for blood work and x-rays. It’s still unclear why the bird was struggling to fly, but once he’s healthy and strong, the team will release him back into the wild.
“It’s an eagle — that’s our national symbol. You just have to go rescue them. You can’t just let it die,” Lockwood said. “Today was my second bird rescue, I guess,” Antle said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
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[Featured image: Facebook/Sedgwick County Sheriff]