Ohio Firefighters, Boys Team up to Help Bald Eagle

July 29--CONNEAUT -- Firefighters in Conneaut were dispatched to a most unusual call over the weekend -- a bald eagle in distress.

The bird was found late Saturday afternoon around Conneaut Creek in the vicinity of South Parrish Road, said Assistant Fire Chief Steve Sanford. Two boys, one of them a Boy Scout, were fishing in the area when the encountered an injured bald eagle on the ground inside or near the Blue Bell Isle picnic/camp grounds, Sanford said.

After placing several calls for assistance that went unanswered, the boys called the fire department. Firefighters, in turn, called the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, who sent personnel to the scene, Sanford said.

Firefighters helped the ODNR official wrap the adult eagle in a blanket and place it in a cage. Sanford said he was impressed with the size of the bird.

"It probably had a six-foot wingspan," he said.

The bird was then placed in the care of Birds in Flight, a wildlife sanctuary in Howland that serves Ashtabula County and 15 other counties, said Heather Merritt, director.

The Conneaut eagle is very weak and dehydrated, Merritt said Monday. The bird is also unable to move its legs, which can be a symptom of West Nile virus, she said. Tests will be conducted and "supportive care" will be provided, she said.

Once the eagle is healthier, it will probably be returned to the Conneaut area, Merritt said. "We'll do everything we can to get it back in the wild," Merritt said.

Copyright 2014 - Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio