NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A bald eagle is being nursed back to health after being spotted on Staten Island.
The bird was found in bad shape in a West Brighton driveway, CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime situation. It’ll never happen again,” homeowner Betty Hayes said, narrating her encounter with the eagle.
Hayes told Borg it was an amazing experience.
“Growing up my entire life, you know the bald eagle is a symbol of freedom. It’s a symbol of America,” she said.
But it was clear the bird needed help.
“You could tell it was injured, because it wouldn’t fly,” Hayes said.
Terrified the massive, majestic bird would scamper into the street and get run over, she used her garbage can to trap the eagle between her and her neighbor’s fences. She brought the bird water and left-over lemon chicken.
“He was hungry, he really was hungry. He ate it all and he looked like he enjoyed it,” she said.
Hayes called several different agencies to pick up the bird, and eventually the Staten Island Zoo came to get it.
The eagle is now being treated by the Raptor Trust, a bird rehabilitation center in New Jersey. Experts there told Borg the male eagle is more than 5 years old and is extremely dehydrated and weak. It also has an injury to one of its eyes.
Tests will be done in the coming days to see what made the bird so sick.
Since it’s tagged with metal rings on its feet, veterinarians will be able to tell where it came from and will also try to determine if it’s the same bird that landed two miles away in Bayonne a week before.
The latest eagle will need a lot of care, but he left a lasting impression on Hayes.
“I’ll never forget this experience. I just really won’t,” she said.
The retired grandmother is glad she could play a role in helping.
The Raptor Trust said it treats about four bald eagles each year. Sometimes they become ill from their food sources being contaminated by lead.