MILPITAS, Calif. (KTVU) - A daring rescue Monday by Fish and Wildlife officials after a baby eagle in Milpitas fell from its nest. The protected bird is now recovering at a rehabilitation center.
Bird lovers, photographers and Milpitas residents flocked to Curtner Elementary School in Milpitas to check on the welfare of a beloved eaglet.
“It is an iconic bird and it is in the middle of the city which is not common. They are just beautiful birds and should be saved as much as they can,” said Jill Tierney of San Jose.
The two-month-old fell from its nest in a tree Sunday morning. The reason is unclear if it was too windy or if the young bird was trying to fly.
“It’s a very unusual place to find a bald eagle's nest,” said State Department Fish and Wildlife Warden Byron Jones. “I know of no other urban environment in the Bay Area that has something like this.”
The eaglet and its bald eagle family are quite the attraction in Milpitas. Experts said, they likely chose this location with fish from the wastewater treatment facility nearby. Officials fenced off a perimeter to keep predators like raccoons, cats and dogs at bay.
“I just hope he gets up in the trees so he can get some food,” said Susan Moranz of Milpitas.
That’s exactly what Fish and Wildlife tried to do. It’s not your typical rescue for them or Milpitas firefighters. With a large net and blankets, they first tried to capture the 10-pound bird. Milpitas firefighters shot this video as they rescued the eaglet.
Then, using a bucket truck ladder, Fish and Wildlife tried to move it to a branch near the nest close to its parents so they could feed the eaglet.
“Everything the eaglet needs comes from the eagles,” said Jones. “Its parents are both in the nest and it also has a sibling still in the nest.”
Unfortunately, the bird did not stay put. Agitated, the bird fell to the ground ripping the shirt of its rescuer.
“It was in there upside down,” said State Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Terris Kasteen. “I had a hard time flipping it and getting it to the ground. It's so big and my hands are so small.”
It’s not the outcome they all wanted, yet residents are thankful for the great lengths authorities went to to save the eaglet.
“I think it's just amazing that they care enough about these guys and not let nature take its course,” said Tierney.
“Our instinct is try and render it some justice and an opportunity,” said Jones.
The bird is now at the Lindsay Wildlife Center in Walnut Creek, where it will be monitored for a week. It will then be released likely at the lake at Ed Levin Park in Milpitas or a nearby pond.