NJ American Water helps rescue hurt eagle

December 21, 2009 1:17:43 PM PST
New Jersey American Water announced Monday that two employees helped rescue an injured bald eagle they discovered on the grounds of the company's Canoe Brook Water Treatment Plant in Short Hills. Workers at the facility first discovered the eagle on the Reservoir Road near a marshy area while performing routine maintenance on Thursday. Calling in experts from the Raptor Trust in Millington, the workers helped capture the bird, which could not fly because of an injured wing.

"New Jersey American Water takes its role as an environmental steward seriously, and this rescue is a perfect example of that in action," New Jersey American Water president John Bigelow said. "We are proud of our employees and their dedication to the community and the environment."

A maintenance worker who first spotted the downed eagle initially thought it was a hawk. Upon closer inspection, New Jersey American Water Environmental Manager Gary Matthews discovered it was actually a juvenile, female bald eagle. Matthews called the Raptor Trust, considered one of the premier wild bird rehabilitation centers in the United States, who sent a team to help capture the bird.

The female eagle evaded initial attempts at capture, eventually working her way to a patch of grass several yards out into a marshy area ranging in depth from 6 inches to 5 feet that was beginning to ice over. Using two shallow water kayaks, the team drove the eagle back to shore, where she was netted and transported back to the Raptor Trust facility for examination. Initial observation revealed the eagle may have a torn muscle or minor fracture in one of her wings. She is expected to fully recuperate and will eventually be returned to the wild.