A bald eagle was rescued by first responders and wildlife officials after it became impaled on a 120-foot lightning rod on top of a radio tower at St. George Elementary in MaClenny, Florida.
Fire department crews responded to the scene on Friday after receiving a call about an eagle stuck on top of the tower. Local wildlife authorities arrived after the fire department called them. It was then determined that someone would need to go to the top of the tower to free the eagle. MacClenny Fire and Rescue Department detailed the ordeal in a Facebook post.
Engineer Louis Castle and Lt. Garret Williams loaded up into a 100-foot tall tower. Then, they headed toward the elementary school, according to the fire department.
Crews gained access to the area by cutting a fence. They then scaled up 100-feet in the tower, the department said in a statement on Facebook. The post below contains images of the first responders rescuing the bird, but as they warn in their post, viewer discretion is advised considering some images may be distressing to some.
Castle then exited the bucket of the fire department’s ladder and then hooked himself onto the tower. He used proper safety equipment and techniques to climb the remaining 20-feet, according to the department.
The eagle was found in “obvious distress,” according to the department.
Once he was at the top, Castle was able to free the bird of its impalement. From there, the bird soared down and was captured by wildlife rescuers.
Bald Eagle Rescued, Although Officials Provide No Health Updates
As of Saturday afternoon, the fire department did not release an update on the health of the bald eagle.
“Great job fellas,” the department wrote in their post. “We are extremely proud of you and what a call. To be up close to Americas symbol of freedom, what a memory!”
Plenty of Facebook users commented in reply to the department, thanking them for their service.
“Thank you so much for your help, kindness, courage and strength to rescue this majestic bird!” one Facebook user wrote.
“Thank you so much for helping that beautiful creature! You guys are true heroes,” another commenter wrote.
Luckily, thanks to conservation efforts, bald eagle populations across the country have recovered. They were on the brink of extinction within the United States until the end of the 20th century.
The species was removed from the U.S. government’s list of endangered species on July 12, 1995. It was then transferred to the list of threatened species. After that, the bald eagle was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the contiguous states on June 28, 2007.
The largest bald eagles live in Alaska, and large females there may weigh more than 15 pounds and span 8 feet across the wings.
Bald eagles get their names “bald” from an older meaning of the word which translates to “white headed.”