We’ve seen eagles fly and we’ve seen eagles dive for fish but this appears to be the first time we’ve ever seen an ice ball frozen to an eagle’s tail feathers, preventing it from flying.
8-inch ice ball stuck to eagle
The story comes out of Lake Michigan where an eagle was recorded hopping around the lake in attempts to fly but was being weighed down by something — that something was a big 8-inch ball of ice attached to its tail feathers which was so heavy it grounded the bird.
The eagle was spotted by people passing by sitting on a block of ice near the edge of the lake with 3 other eagles. The three eagles flew off while this eagle just stayed on the ground bouncing around trying to fly. The onlookers could tell something wasn’t right.
They contacted the Wings Of Wonder, a raptor sanctuary and rehabilitation center for wildlife who got Ken Scott and some other men out there to help the eagle.
“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,” he said.
Removing the ice ball
The guys were able to capture the eagle and took it to the rehabilitation center. The ice ball was still frozen solid to the eagle’s tail so they put it under a heat lamp which didn’t work. They waited until the next morning to let it thaw but it was still hard as a rock so they poured warm water over it and finally melted away.
“They were able to remove the ice beast, and it was apparent he was pretty happy to have his discharge chute operating again as he was making up for lost time. With cleared-out piping, he gently accepted his first free meal very gently from forceps,” Scott wrote.
After that the eagle was put in a 100-foot flight pen where he finished recovering. Once he was back to full health and flying with power again he was released back into the wild.