Coast Guard Station Saginaw River, Mich., crew rescues bald eagle

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CLEVELAND – A Coast Guard crew from Station Saginaw River, Michigan rescued a juvenile bald eagle along the Saginaw River, Thursday afternoon.

America, as the bird was later named by the crew, was thought to have been injured when it was rescued, but has been given a clean bill of health by wildlife experts.

A watchstander at Coast Guard Station Saginaw River, in Essexvile, Michigan, was notified Thursday afternoon by a good Samaritan reporting an injured eagle in the water at the mouth of the Saginaw River.

America, a juvenile bald eagle, is held by Bruce Beatty, a a federally-licensed birds of prey rehabilitator, Petty Officer 1st Class Dominic Potter (left) and Petty Officer 3rd Class William Peters at a Michigan Department of Natural Resources center in Bay City, Mich., after being rescued in the Saginaw River by Potter and Peters, Sept. 18, 2014. America was not injured and will be cared for by Beatty until released. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

America, a juvenile bald eagle, is held by Bruce Beatty, a a federally-licensed birds of prey rehabilitator, Petty Officer 1st Class Dominic Potter (left) and Petty Officer 3rd Class William Peters at a Michigan Department of Natural Resources center in Bay City, Mich., after being rescued in the Saginaw River by Potter and Peters, Sept. 18, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A rescue boat crew aboard a 45-foot rescue boat was on the river conducting training and diverted to help the eagle. Once on scene, the boat crew located the bird but was unable to get to it due to shallow water.

Petty Officer 1st Class Dominic Potter and Petty Officer 3rd Class William Peters were notified and were able to drive a vehicle from Station Saginaw River to the area where the bird was located. By this time, the eagle had drifted to the water’s edge.

The land that the eagle had drifted onto was connected to the Consumers Power Plant. Representatives of the plant helped get Potter and Peters to the eagle quickly.

The rescue crew then contacted representatives from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division who said they had no one in the area, and instructed the crew how to proceed with rescuing the eagle. Potter and Peters put a wool blanket on the eagle and then loaded it into the vehicle before transporting it to the Michigan DNR Bay City Operations Service Center to waiting wildlife experts.

Also at the center waiting was Bruce Beatty, a federally-licensed birds of prey rehabilitator, who took custody of America. The Coast Guard rescue crew decided to name the eagle America in honor of the country it represents.

“Everyone, from the good Sam who notified us, to the Michigan DNR and the Consumers Power Plant personnel, was so helpful in helping us rescue America,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Andy Burns, the coxswain aboard the boat. “This bird is not just an injured animal, it is our country’s symbol of freedom, and America deserved to be saved.”

Beatty, who has cared for owls, hawks and other birds of prey, has never cared for an eagle, but said he jumped at the chance and is very excited to care for America.

“I took America home, dried him off and placed him in a heated safe enclosure,” said Beatty Friday morning. “This morning, America was very chipper and after about two weeks of rest, we will release him back into the wild.”

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