Res­cuers free ea­gle stuck in ice on lake

8-inch ice ball kept rap­tor from fly­ing off with his friends

The Detroit News - - METRO - BY SARAH RAHAL The Detroit News

An ea­gle res­cued from the ice in Lake Michi­gan ear­lier this month headed back toward the lakeshore Sun­day af­ter a respite in the care of a rap­tor sanc­tu­ary in Em­pire, Michi­gan.

“The Grand Tra­verse Band of Ot­tawa In­di­ans did a drum­ming and a song,” said Re­becca Les­sard, founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the non­profit Wings of Won­der. “It was a trib­ute to the ea­gle.”

Les­sard said the ea­gle, found with an 8-inch ball of ice at­tached to its tail that had been care­fully re­moved at the sanc­tu­ary, “flew up and out and headed toward the lake shore.”

On Feb. 1, passersby on Lake Michi­gan had been watch­ing four ea­gles eat­ing on the edge of a block of ice. Three even­tu­ally flew away, but a fourth re­mained and it was ap­par­ent that some­thing was wrong.

The find­ers con­tacted Wings of Won­der.

“I donned in­su­lated chest waders, a (per­sonal float­ing de­vice), and slowly plod­ded out into the wa­ter amongst the large, float­ing ice blocks to cor­ral the ea­gle with hopes that he would move toward shore where Chris was wait­ing with (a) blan­ket and thick han­dling gloves,” wrote Ken Scott, a vol­un­teer with Wings of Won­der, on YouTube.

Af­ter trans­port­ing the ea­gle to Wings of Won­der, they placed it next to a heat vent to melt the ice but that didn’t work. The next morn­ing, they tried pour­ing wa­ter on the iced-up area.

Les­sard said Sun­day that the ea­gle was in fine form and was ex­pected to fol­low the fish mi­gra­tion and dine on ducks dur­ing the time be­tween nest­ing.

She was happy to see him on his way. “It’s the frost­ing on the cake,” she said.

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