Fisherman rescues injured bald eagle

- OGDEN, UTAH (ABC 4 News) -- An early morning fishing trip for a man who works the graveyard shift at Hill Air Force base turned out to be anything but routine on Tuesday.

That fisherman came across a bald eagle but it wasn't the majestic sight most of us are used to. Instead of admiring the bird, he was forced to rescue it.

It was a shocking sight for Courtney Short.

A bald eagle, so weak, it allowed the avid Ogden fisherman to pick him up and even cradle him like a baby.

Short rushed the eagle to get help. The eagle is still alive, but not doing well.

"Once an animal like this is debilitated far enough to get down to where they're able to be captured the survival rate is very very low,” says Dalyn Erickson, with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah.

To see this majestic creature slumped over in a cage is simply heartbreaking.

Erickson knew the problem right when the bird came in, lead poisoning.

"This is a huge problem not just for eagles but condors and grizzlies and all kinds of other animals,” says Erickson.

Erickson believes this eagle ate another animal that had been shot by a hunter with a lead bullet.

"If the animal does not die, if it survives the wounds and goes off and dies somewhere else, it becomes food for scavenger," she says.

They're injecting him with calcium, hoping it will filter the lead out of his system. The process could take months and even with the treatment he has a very slim chance of surviving.

Erickson says this is the second bald eagle they've gotten from this area this month who has suffered from lead poisoning.

She said the easiest way to keep tragedies like this from happening, is if hunters and fishermen stopped using lead.

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