HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The treasured and rare bald eagle is our nation’s symbol and now, a Long Island boater is being credited with the dramatic and risky water rescue of a stranded baby bald eagle.
Mitch Kramer, of Oyster Bay, and his dog Jessie responded in their towboat to a stranded sailor when they saw something struggling in the distance and ended up going ten miles from shore to find out what it was.
“As I got closer, I could tell it was a bird,” Kramer told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
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Kramer said his heart was racing as he saw the scene.
“Being that we love animals and have done some rescues before, I couldn’t leave it there, see if I could give it a shot try to grab it,” Kramer said.
The exhausted, frightened bird turned out to be a 1-year-old bald eagle that was sick and stranded in Long Island Sound.
“So I reached over and grabbed the bald eagle, fully expecting it to start flailing and trying to come after me, which it didn’t do,” Kramer said.
“It had about a 6-foot wing span, it was very intimidating, the bald eagle was a lot bigger when I pulled it out of the water than I originally thought it was,”
Kramer immediately called his wife Donna Kramer, who rehabilitates animals.
“We at first we thought the eagle was blind — eyes crusted over, very thin, it was crawling with lice,” Donna Kramer said.
The bird was quickly transported from the colorful harbor to Donna’s vet center for fluids and antibiotics. The eagle regained eyesight and then headed to a New Jersey raptor center.
“We did call her Indy for Independence Day and we know finding a bald eagle at this time is unique and ironic,” Donna Kramer said.
The rehab experts said as soon as Indy is healthy, which could be mere weeks from now, the young bald eagle will be brought back and freed on Long Island.
In New York, where sightings of bald eagles have slowly begun to increase, its status has been upgraded from “endangered” to “threatened.”