LAKE GEORGE, Colo. — After a rescue that took more than three hours, an injured bald eagle is on its way to recovery.
On Sunday afternoon in near-zero temperatures, a man was walking his dog in Eleven Mile Canyon below the dam and park when he saw a bald eagle sitting on an unusually low branch. He told a neighbor, who tried to catch the bird, but the person scared it into a drainage culvert.
A short time later, Teller County and Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer Joe Kraudelt received a call to help with the situation.
Kraudelt drove to the canyon with a fishing net and large plastic dog kennel so he could catch and transport the eagle.
“It was trapped under the road in a culvert that was 24 inches in diameter and 20 feet long,” he said.
A smaller member of the rescue team squeezed inside to chase the injured eagle toward Kraudelt and other rescuers at the other end of the culvert.
It took three hours, but Kraudelt was finally able to get the eagle in his net and put it in the dog crate.
The bird was transported to Catamount Wildlife Center in Woodland Park, where it was checked by a veterinarian, who determined that the eagle had a bruised wing and one claw missing. The eagle was moved to Pueblo’s Wildlife and Nature Discovery Center’s raptor campus on Wednesday for rehabilitation.
It’s expected to make a full recovery, according to CPW.
“This is a great example of the dedicated work of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s volunteers,” said Tim Kroening, a CPW wildlife officer in Teller County who works closely with Kraudelt. “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.”
Kraudelt was recently honored by CPW’s Southeast Region for his volunteer work with the agency since 1990, which included serving on the county Bear Aware team and frequently transporting injured wildlife to rehabilitation facilities.