Ailing Eagle Captured in P’town
The raptor squad hit the Cape tip early Tuesday morning. Their mission: capture an ailing juvenile bald eagle.
Funny thing about eagles, though. They move fast, even the sick ones. And in downtown Provincetown, a summer hotbed of traffic, tourists and chockablock houses, an eagle can disappear like a taloned ghost.
But that didn’t deter Alexandra Mueller, wildlife rehabilitator at Eastham-based Wild Care and two interns, Mike Steele and Daphne Boulicault, after they received a call expressing concern for the bird.
They hotfooted it up to Provincetown and a bumpy chase ensued. The trio used found objects — a ladder, tennis balls, water sprayed from a hose — to convince the bird to abdicate a roof perch, but despite their ingenuity, the bird disappeared.
“So we spread out, separated, started running through people’s backyards, trying to triangulate where the eagle had landed,” recalled Mueller.
Then, a hot tip! A bystander had seen the eagle on the ground. The raptor squad struck, well, like a raptor. “We netted him,” said a bushed-but-beaming Mueller.
Wild Care intern Mike Steele said it was a fine way to spend a morning. “Most of the time I’m here cleaning crates and feeding the animals,” said Steele.
“So it’s always exciting when you can go out and catch a bald eagle.”
The months-old eagle is underweight, dehydrated and lice-infested, said Stephanie Ellis, Wild Care’s executive director. Plans call for the bird, which is about 2 feet tall, to be stabilized at the Eastham facility and then moved to an off-Cape wildlife center for further recovery.
Mueller thinks the bird might have only lasted a few more days in the wild. “The more you do this, the more you see the signs of a bird that really needs care immediately,” she said.
Staff writer Jason Kolnos contributed to this report.
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DID YOU KNOW??
Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!