Rescuing a bald eagle under any circumstance is challenging. Rescuing a bald eagle floating on ice in open water raises the stakes exponentially, but volunteers with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors proved up to the task.
Nat Carmichael captured the dramatic recovery effort, which took place New Year's Day in Waukegan Harbor, with Jim Tibensky nudging the bird to shore with his kayak and Annette Prince expertly handling the eagle and preparing it for transport.
The bald eagle, estimated to be about 3 years old, was taken to Willowbrook Wildlife Center in DuPage County, where it became the center's first patient of 2023. Coincidentally, a bald eagle was also the center's first patient in 2022.
The veterinary team at Willowbrook reported the bird was "quite thin, wet and disheveled." Bloodwork revealed moderate anemia and a delayed clotting time, which could be signs of poisoning from anticoagulant rodenticides (as was the case in 2022), but staff is still conducting tests.
After spending a night in a heated cage and dining on quail and rat, the bird was showing signs of improvement and staff is hoping for a similar result as 2022, when the eagle was ultimately released back into the wild.