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Injured Bald Eagle Rescued After 3-Hour Operation In Freezing Colorado Weather

PARK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) -- They worked for hours outside in sub-freezing weather, and even crawled through a narrow drainage pipe, but a group of concerned people were determined to save an injured bald eagle.

bald eagle rescue (Denise Kelly CPW)
(credit: Denise Kelly, Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

"It all started Sunday afternoon as a man walking his dog in Eleven Mile Canyon below the dam and park and noticed a bald eagle sitting on an unusually low branch. He notified a neighbor who tried to catch the eagle, but only scared it into the drainage culvert," CPW stated.

CPW volunteer Joe Kraudelt drove to the canyon to help. A neighbor crawled into the 24-inch culvert -- which was 20 feet long -- and chased it toward Kraudelt, who was waiting with a fishing net.

"We worked three hours until finally I was able to get my net over it," CPW quoted Kraudelt as saying. "One of the guys grabbed its wings and I grabbed its talons and we put it in our dog crate. It was a real team effort."

After trapping the bird, they pulled it on a sled through deep snow. The temperature was near zero degrees and the rescue took three hours.

bald eagle rescue3 (Denise Kelly CPW)
(credit: Denise Kelly, Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

The eagle has a bruised wing and is missing a claw from one talon. It was sent to the Wildlife and Nature Discovery Center's raptor campus in Pueblo for rehabilitation and is expected to make a full recovery.

bald eagle rescue2 (Denise Kelly CPW)
(credit: Denise Kelly, Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

"This is a great example of the dedicated work of Colorado Parks and Wildlife's volunteers," stated Tim Kroening, CPW wildlife officer in Teller County. "They care so deeply for the wildlife and will go out in terrible weather on weekends and holidays to help perform a rescue like this. Our agency, and the wildlife of Colorado, are so fortunate to have committed volunteers like Joe."

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