Montgomery County man finds injured bald eagle - WSMV News 4

Montgomery County man finds injured bald eagle

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A Montgomery County man who found an injured bald eagle in one of his pastures says it was exciting to rescue it -- and later hold it.

Matt Cole found it Oct. 17 and knew something was wrong when it didn't fly away, according to The Leaf-Chronicle.

He called a game warden, who caught the bird and determined it had an injured wing.

Dale Grandstaff, a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer and game warden, said the eagle looked healthy other than its wing. "There was some swelling at the joint and we got it bandaged up. As far as we could tell, there were no visible external injuries other than an injury to a wing," Grandstaff said. "It could have been a power line, a tree limb, a fence, diving after food or trying to get food."

Both Cole and Grandstaff first thought the eagle was a female, but it turned out to be a mature male weighing about seven pounds.

Grandstaff said there are perhaps five bald eagle nests in Montgomery County along the Cumberland River. The birds are mostly fish eaters and live by the water, so it's uncommon to find one in the middle of a pasture away from a body of water.

Grandstaff took the eagle to Walden's Puddle in Joelton to see a veterinarian and for eagle rehabilitation.

When the eagle arrived, the veterinarians found some bruising and soft tissue damage, but no breaks, said Bettina Bowersschwan, the animal care director at Walden's Puddle. The eagle was also missing a few feathers on its neck. "He does have a pretty heavy parasite load, too, so we're going to have to worm him," she said. "So we're just hoping it'll be stuff that will resolve pretty quickly so we can get him back out there."

Cole said Grandstaff let him hold the eagle once it had been captured. "I grabbed her feet, picked her up and turned her around," he said. "It was pretty cool. It's not every day you get to hold a bald eagle. She's a big bird, she felt very healthy, it didn't seem like anything was wrong with her besides her left wing. She couldn't flap it; she could stretch it out, but really couldn't flap it."

Once the eagle has recovered, Grandstaff said, it will be released exactly where he found it on Cole's property. Cole and his wife hope the eagle will stay on their property once it was
released. "Once they have a home place or a nest, they make that their home and they live there forever," Cole said. "They mate forever, too."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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