Rescuers free eagle stuck in ice on lake
8-inch ice ball kept raptor from flying off with his friends
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.