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Injured eagle rescued by Rochert man

John Eisele and Colton Sorenson, 10, with the injured Bald Eagle they found Sunday evening. The eagle has a broken wing, and was given to the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, whom will probably give the bird to the university of Minesota's Raptor Recovery Center in the Twin Cities. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)1 / 2
This injured Bald Eagle was found near Rochert just off County Highway 29 by John Eisele, his girlfriend, Wendy Sorenson and stepson Colton Sorenson Sunday evening. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 2

ROCHERT -- A young bald eagle that injured its wing near Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge appears to be resting comfortably after a good Samaritan rescued the bird late Sunday afternoon.

Rural Rochert resident John Eisele said he found the bird sitting on a road just off County Highway 29 on Sunday afternoon.

Barbara Boyle, manager of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, said the bird had been taken into temporary custody by the Refuge Monday afternoon, and had been placed in a "dark, quiet corner" to rest comfortably until it could be transported to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center on Tuesday.

"Me and my girlfriend and my stepson were driving down the road Sunday, and it was sitting right in the middle of the road," Eisele said. "We figured it would get up and fly away... but when it tried, one of the wings just stood out and didn't move. It couldn't go far.

"We were concerned about it, so we stopped. It didn't want to move at all, so being it was in the middle of the road, Wendy (Eisele's girlfriend) put a coat over its head and we put it in the back of the van."

About an hour later, after several unsuccessful attempts to locate someone at the DNR or Tamara Refuge who could assist the injured bird, Eisele brought it to his home and placed it inside a large dog kennel (about 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall).

They attempted to feed the bird bits of cracker, meat and bread, but "the only thing it did was drink water."

By this time, it was about 9:30 p.m., so the family went to bed and attempted to contact both the DNR and Tamarac Refuge the following morning.

Though initial attempts to find a temporary home for the bird were unsuccessful, Eisele said an official from the Tamarac Refuge had picked up the bird Monday afternoon.

Besides the broken wing, the young bird -- Eisele determined its age by the lack of white feathers on its head, and the fact that its wing span was approximately 3½ feet, which is much smaller than that of a full-grown bald eagle -- appeared to be in good health.

"It seems to be active... its eyes were wide open, it's definitely alert," he said, adding that it had been drinking a lot of water. "I would have to say it's in good health, other than the wing."

Eisele noted that the person who picked up the bird said the bird's ability to regain flight would depend on where the break had occurred.

Boyle said this was the third injured eagle that had been reported at the Refuge headquarters this year.

"We have 25 eagle nests on the Refuge currently," she added. "Such injuries are not common, but (the number reported this year) is about average."

The eagle rescued by Eisele was an immature bird with a broken left wing, Boyle said. Such young birds, she added, are typically injured in a couple of different ways: Being struck by a car while attempting to feed off roadside carrion, or in the spring, by getting into a fight with another eagle in a territorial dispute.

Boyle said the American Bald Eagle is a protected species, as established by the U.S. government in 1940 with the passage of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The eagles are protected "both alive and dead," though American Indians are allowed to use eagle feathers for religious purposes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454