LAKE GEORGE, Colo. — A Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer and a team of neighbors rescued an injured bald eagle on Sunday near Eleven Mile State Park.
The rescue happened in near-zero temperatures that took more than three hours to pull the eagle out of a narrow drainage culvert under a road.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife said a man was walking his dog below the dam in Eleven Mile Canyon on Sunday.
The man saw the eagle sitting on a low branch and notified a neighbor, who tried to catch the bird only to scare it into the drainage culvert.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer Joe Kraudelt drove to the canyon with a fishing net and a large plastic dog kennel to catch and transport the eagle.
“It was trapped under the road in a culvert that was 24 inches in diameter and 20 feet long,” Kraudelt said.
A member of the rescue team got inside to chase the injured eagle toward Kraudelt and other rescuers at the other end of the culvert.
“We worked three hours until finally I was able to get my net over it,” Kraudelt said. “One of the guys grabbed its wings and I grabbed its talons and we put it in our dog crate. It was a real team effort.”
The eagle was taken to Catamount Wildlife Center in Woodland Park where it was checked by a veterinarian on Monday. The eagle had a bruised wing and a claw missing from one talon.
On Wednesday, it was taken to the Wildlife and Nature Discovery Center’s raptor campus in Pueblo for rehabilitation. It is expected to make a full recovery.
“This is a great example of the dedicated work of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s volunteers,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer Tim Kroening said. “They care so deeply for the wildlife and will go out in terrible weather on weekends and holidays to help perform a rescue like this. Our agency, and the wildlife of Colorado, are so fortunate to have committed volunteers like Joe.”