JEWELL COUNTY (KSNT) – A bald eagle was just hanging out when some passersby spotted it.
It didn’t take long for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) to move in to help the trapped bird escape its predicament on Feb. 25. KSNT 27 News spoke with Rob Unruh, Public Lands Manager with the KDWP, about the successful rescue at Lovewell State Park in Jewell County.
Unruh said he was at the park with his wife early Saturday morning to take photos of geese when he first saw the eagle. At first, he didn’t think much of it. However, when he passed by the tree where the eagle was stuck later that morning, he realized there was a problem.
“When we came back around, we saw it hanging upside down caught by its foot,” Unruh said. “I took my wife home and Carly [KDWP staffer] and I started trying to figure out how to get it down.”
Unruh fetched an extension ladder but wasn’t able to reach the bald eagle. He was fearful cutting limbs from the tree with a chainsaw would just drop the eagle onto the ice below. It was at this point the KDWP decided to call up Rolling Hills Electric Cooperative, Inc. to help out.
Casey Smith, a journeyman lineman with Rolling Hills Electric, was among those who responded to the situation. He said his company doesn’t usually get calls to rescue bald eagles.
“No, not normally we don’t,” Smith said. “This was a rare occasion.”
Armed with a bucket truck, Smith was able to reach the eagle and cut some tree limbs out of the way.
“I was able to kinda maneuver his leg just enough so that he could be free and enable him to fall down and fly away,” Smith said.
Once free, the eagle took off across the lake. The ordeal last around two-and-a-half hours, according to Unruh.
“All I did was go up there help him get down,” Smith said.