Normally, nests are a safe place for eggs to hatch and baby birds to gain their strength until they learn to fly, but one baby bald eagle was nearly killed by its nest when it got its leg trapped in a Y-shaped stick.
The eaglet belongs to a nest at the U.S. National Arboretum that is featured in the online DC Eagle Cam, and when viewers noticed something was wrong with the baby’s leg, wildlife experts knew they had to do something to help the newborn before it suffered permanent damage or even die.
“They noticed it was a little hung up,” said Dan Rauch, a wildlife biologist at the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment. The team watched for over an hour to see if the mother would be able to free her baby’s leg, but when nothing changed, they knew they had to intervene before the eaglet caused any permanent damage.
Arborist Matthew Morrison climbed up the 95-foot tree, and worked carefully to free the jammed right leg before placing the baby in a sack to bring it to be examined at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. “I think that the eaglet was uncomfortable being stuck in that position for hours,” said Morrison. Thankfully, the examination revealed the baby bird wasn’t seriously harmed, but only had some swelling and scrapes from try to pull its leg free.
“It was life or death,” said American Eagle Foundation founder Al Cecere. “If you have the power in your hands to help I think sometimes you just have to step forward and help… It would totally have ruined its leg. In the end, it all worked out well.”
After a few more days of recuperation, the Morrison scaled the tree again and managed to safely return the baby back with its family in the nest before gently kissing the bird on the head as he began to climb back down. “It just seemed natural,” he said. “I gave him a good wish.”
Watch the entire video below to see the awesome moment this brave man safely returns the baby eagle to the nest.
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[Featured image: American Eagle Foundation]