Chris Delworth was in bed reading the newspaper when he got a phone call asking if he would help save a trapped bald eagle.
“I thought they were kidding and eagle was code for a person being stuck,” he said.
The bird was snared upside down in a large cottonwood tree, roughly 40 metres high, near the Columbia River on Aug. 11, several kilometers south of Revelstoke.
Bystanders thought the eagle was caught by fishing line or the talons had locked and gotten hooked on a branch, possibly after a fight with another eagle.
Although rare, eagles can get stuck in trees, said Rob Hope, raptor care manager at the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.
Morgan Purcell was canoeing the day previously and noticed the entrapped bird.
“It was hard to miss. It was huge,” she said.
Purcell called around trying to find someone to help.
The BC Conservation Service couldn’t and the fire department does not deal with wildlife.
A video of the trapped bird was posted on Facebook, asking for ideas on how to save the bird. Someone suggested Delworth.
While Delworth had never saved an eagle, he has helped entangled paragliders from trees. Earlier this summer he climbed a tree, cutting branches to set them free.
Delworth is an avid skier, climber and operates Revelstoke Paragliding.
So, he drank a couple espressos, grabbed his climbing gear/saw and set off to see what he could do to assist.
It wasn’t the first time Delworth has helped wildlife. Last year, he was involved in saving two orphaned moose calves named Clover and Chocolate after their mom had died getting hit by a vehicle.
Hours later, after climbing the tree with spurs, ropes and pulleys, Delworth starts to cut a bread loaf sized branch to free the eagle.
“Please god, work,” he said while sawing.
As the branch falls, the eagle gets free and soars away out of sight.
“A freed eagle, is a good eagle,” said Delworth after he rappelled to the ground.
Hope said he’s very thankful people rallied together to help the eagle as there is little a wildlife rescue organization could do in a remote community like Revelstoke.
“These people saved that bird for sure,” said Hope.
Delworth said he hopes to meet the eagle again, perhaps when he’s paragliding.
“Maybe I’ll get to fly with him.”
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