January 10, 2013 was one of those special days that you think it’s the most special day of your life! It was worth the 2 hours of making endless calls, following the bird, waiting, losing sight of the bird and finding the bird just in time for arrival of the rescue team. It was an amazing experience to see this eagle paddling in the water with its wings, steady and focused at least 150 feet, directly to us and landing ashore at our feet, trusting enough to ask and receive help from humans.
When I arrived at the park and sat on the bench, it was 11:30AM. There was a large blue heron just standing in the water, staring in my direction for awhile. That’s not the usual direction to be searching for fish. Then there was an osprey that circled overhead, looking at me when it got close. Then a second one took a turn at it. They were not fishing, but were sending messages. There were many supernatural lights around me that were beaconing this incredible creature 20 minutes before my friend Annette Marie Anderson arrived. I was fascinated with the lights myself and was busy capturing the images.
Within 5 minutes of my friend’s arrival, she noticed the movement in the water. It looked like a giant sea turtle paddling directly toward us. We captured it on video. As it got closer, it appeared like a falcon. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. We went to the water’s edge and it slowly walked right up to us. It was looking directly into our eyes asking for help. We noticed it was extremely weak and had a badly damaged beak. It was too weak to fly, probably could not catch prey, but managed to cross Safety Harbor paddling with its wings. Incredible! A man by the name of Dick Reynolds came by to help, and he said it is a golden eagle. It had talons and the image of an eagle. That’s what makes the story even more amazing.
We called many places trying to get someone to rescue the bird. The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores is the right place to call. We were told that it’s more likely a juvenile bald eagle we were looking at. Maryann at the Sanctuary coordinated calling the rescue team. It took an hour and a half to hear that help was on its way. At that point we lost sight of the bird and searched for 15 minutes. We knew it could not have gone too far in its weakened state. The three of us must have walked by it numerous times. I thought to myself, think like the bird, move like the bird. I looked in the shadows of the retaining wall and found it huddled in the foliage. He camouflages so well.
After 2 hours from the beginning of this story, 2 sheriff officers and a wildlife rescue person arrived on the scene. The bird was weak, but had been so patient waiting for help to arrive. They handled the eagle so well and it was trusting them. Troy Savetz and the sheriff officers did a great job of getting a gentle hold of the big bird, the juvenile bald eagle.
It’s beyond words, the feeling of being directly communicated to by an eagle, observing the gentle grace of this bird while waiting for help to arrive, and the manner it received help from the rescue team. As we said goodbye, I looked at the eagle in the cage and its eyes were looking directly into mine. Love, faith and hope shined through at its best today.
This story was written up in the Tampa Bay News Weekly. See www.tbnweekly.com January 15, 2013 for the article, “Woman rescues young eagle at Philippe Park.”