How Flyer the Eaglet Got Rescued from a Fishing Line Snare

An eagle’s nest built in a dead tree was recently the scene of three days of consternation. Ma and Pa Sidney, the parent eagles, had brooded and raised three beautiful eaglets, Flyer, Snuggles and Burrow, in Sidney British Columbia. With thousands following as events unfolded on the Hancock Wildlife Foundation’s webcam, pleasure turned to worry as people realized that Flyer had caught his toe in a fishing line and could not free himself to go and feed from mom.

“I’m a biologist; I want nature to take it’s normal course but this isn’t normal course,” said biologist David Hancock, who installed one of the nest cams in the first place. “This is partly our fault so I think we have an obligation.”

There was a conundrum though. The tree couldn’t be climbed, so how were the rescuers going to get 130 feet in the air? Finally a crane operator came forward, and heavy mats were provided to help the crane make it over the boggy ground to the tree.

Then came the big moment. David Hancock, Jeff Krieger and Karen Bills climbed into the box of the crane and were lifted up to the nest. With no fuss, Flyer allowed himself to be held in David’s lap as the fishing twine was removed from his toe. There seemed to be no damage, so with some antibiotic and a whispered “good luck”, the rescue team left him in the nest to continue to grow with his siblings. Go Flyer!

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