PEI

Baby eagle rescued from electric transmission tower

A young eagle was the subject of a dramatic high-rise rescue in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., earlier this week.

'My heart was certainly racing for the first 10 to 20 feet or so going up'

The eaglet that was atop an electric tower in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., is now temporarily in an enclosure at the Atlantic Veterinary College. (Jenna Kenney)

A young eagle was the subject of a dramatic high-rise rescue in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., earlier this week.

The eaglet was in a nest nearly 25 metres above the ground — atop a Maritime Electric transmission tower.

Officials said the nest was causing power outages in the area and was in danger of itself catching fire, so a Maritime Electric crew, a bucket truck and a veterinarian removed the young eagle Wednesday.

"The Maritime Electric workers were just amazing and were able to get me right up and touching the tower just next to the nest where I was able to take a net, examine it and flop it over top of the eagle," Dr. Dave McRuer with the Atlantic Veterinary College told CBC Maritime Noon host David Pate.

McRuer is also a wildlife health specialist with Parks Canada and went up in the bucket to capture the young bird.

"I was able to safely bring it back across the nest into the bucket and then back down to the ground again. But I have to say the the view from up there was quite amazing."

The rescue efforts were co-ordinated by the province's Fish and Wildlife division.

Crew removes eaglet from nest.

3 years ago
Duration 1:35
The dramatic removal of a baby eagle from a nest high atop electrical infrastructure in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I.

No stranger to rescuing birds

McRuer is no stranger to dealing with birds, but he said such rescues are usually done in reverse.

"I've done a couple of these rescues before — not usually taking birds down from towers — it's usually actually using bucket trucks to help put birds back into nests."

The eagle nest was hard to get at because it was between metal beams says Dr. Dave McRuer, who went up in the electric utility's bucket. (Maritime Electric)

Power to the tower had to be shut off as McRuer was hoisted up between the wires.

"My heart was certainly racing for the first 10 to 20 feet or so going up," he said.

McRuer said typically eaglets have never seen people, so they are not really afraid of them.

"This eaglet basically sat there, watched me, raised its head and looked around a little bit but didn't make any attempts whatsoever to try to get away."

McRuer said he was able to climb "mostly out of the bucket into the nest" so he could toss the net over the bird and secure it.

Not worried about talons

Though the eagle is small it has very sharp talons, so McRuer wore long leather gloves. 

The eaglet was calm, but its parents flew by and called out loudly. (Maritime Electric)

"These young birds don't have a lot of power in their feet, so that wasn't a major concern."

He said he did keep an eye out for adult eagles who might be upset he was removing the nest and eaglet.

"They were in the area flying around and very vocally telling us that they didn't want us to be there," he said.

The eaglet settled in to his temporary home at the vet college in Charlottetown. (Jenna Kenney)

McRuer said the eaglet was calm and easy to handle. He placed it in a carrier when they got to the ground.

The eaglet was taken to the Atlantic Vet College where an artificial nest had been built for it. It will eventually be relocated to a wildlife centre in Nova Scotia, McRuer said.

"It will be raised until it is an older mature animal and it will be released likely back in the Borden area this fall."

More P.E.I. news

With files from Maritime Noon and Tom Steepe

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