A Delta-based wildlife society shared a video on social media yesterday showing the successful rescue of a bald eagle from a water treatment settling pond in Richmond.
The rescue of the juvenile bird was carried out by Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) in August.
According to OWL’s Facebook post, the eagle landed in the settling pond and was unable to take flight as his feathers became “waterlogged with sludge.”
The eagle was then trapped on a patch of vegetation. If he stepped off of this, the post read, he would start to sink and need to “breaststroke” back to the patch.
The bird also couldn’t properly thermoregulation his body temperature, and would have died without OWL’s intervention.
A Good Samaritan noticed the struggling bird and called for help.
Since the wildlife organization’s nets couldn’t reach the bird, boat access was off limits due to safety concerns, and a helicopter couldn’t operate in the restricted airspace, OWL had to come up with a new rescue plan.
OWL staff utilized a 32-foot volleyball net and 600 feet of marine rope to rescue the eagle. Iona Wastewater Treatment Plant workers and Richmond firefighters also assisted in the rescue.
“With two teams of staff and volunteers from OWL, water treatment staff and the fire department, we put our rescue into action,” reads the Facebook post.
“As you can see in the video it took several attempts for it to successfully bring the bird to land but it worked.”
According to OWL, the only injuries the bird sustained were minor scrapes, although it was weak and hungry.
The eagle was released in September after recovering at OWL’s facility.
A full-length video of the rescue can be viewed on OWL’s YouTube page.