Rescuers swoop in to help injured bald eagle in Alexandria

A bald eagle that appeared to be injured was spotted Wednesday morning on the ground at the Cameron Run Regional Park, near the Metro tracks in Alexandria, Virginia. It seemed like something was wrong with one of its wings.

That’s what the staff at the Animal Rescue League of Alexandria were told by a man who stopped by at about 9 a.m. Wednesday to see if their staff could help the bird.

Gina Hardter, a spokeswoman with AWLA, said that’s when several members of their animal services team headed to the park to check it out.

Hardter said they were joined by four Metro Transit Police officers, who helped capture the bird.

An injured bald eagle was found near the Van Dorn Metro tracks on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. (Courtesy AWLA)

The teamwork to save the bird didn’t stop there. Metro spokesman Ian Janetta said that Blue Line trains moving through the area were directed to operate at lower speeds in order to keep from startling the injured eagle. The idea was to keep it away from the tracks.

“It took a little while,” Hardter said, “but they managed to get the bald eagle.”

Hardter added that in order to keep the eagle from moving closer to the Metro tracks, the team spread out around the raptor and eventually were able to get it into a crate.

Once safely in a crate, the bald eagle was brought to AWLA for an initial check.

Hardter said the eagle was indeed injured. “There’s definitely a clear injury to the wing,” she said, “he’s not moving it or aiming to fly with it.”

The next step was to line up care at a wildlife rehabilitation center. By midday, the bird was on its way to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Boyce, Virginia, where it will get initial care and, if possible, will undergo rehabilitation.

Hardter said it’s not unusual to see bald eagles in the Alexandria area.

“We actually have two bald eagles that are seen on various locations on Eisenhower Avenue where our shelter is located,” she said. She’s not sure, but the wounded bird may be one of the two that are often spotted nearby.

Hardter points out eagles are a common sight in Virginia, “and any area that’s wooded and has food that they’re looking for is somewhere where they could potentially live.”

Eagles typically eat fish but will hunt reptiles, some mammals and they will scavenge for carrion, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up