Bald Eagle Rescued from Green River on 9-11 by Local Fisherman and First Responders
Warren County, KY (WNKY-TV) - "It ain't no good to have a bald eagle die, you know what I mean," says Patrick Thornton, bald eagle rescuer.
What started out as a typical Sunday morning fishing trip on the Green River for father and son, Mike and Patrick Thornton, quickly turned to a rescue adventure with patriotic overtones.
"We came up to where we were going to fish and I look over on the bank and there was a bald eagle sitting right on the waters edge," says Patrick Thornton. "So we stopped the boat and are admiring the eagle and he doesn't fly. He doesn't even attempt to fly," says Mike Thornton another bald eagle rescuer.
It was then that the Thornton's realized the eagle was injured.
"It had its wings all sprawled out and it didn't want to fly, it just wanted to hop and run away," says Patrick Thornton.
After getting hold of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department, it was time to make the five-mile trek downstream from the Arrue Young Boat Launch to rescue the eagle with the help of members from the Richardsville and Browning Fire Departments who just happened to be doing some water training in the area.
"Of course they were very eager to assist. Lieutenant Jimmy Kitchens with the Richardsville Fire Department he operated a boat for us and Chief Keith Lockhart with the Browning Fire Department assisted as well," says Officer Brad Bowles with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
Steep, muddy river banks are synonymous with the Green River, which made the rescue anything but easy.
"The bank was very slippery, the conditions, it was just fortunate that we were even able to capture the bird at all," says Officer Bowles.
After many attempts, Patrick finally captured the eagle in a net and Officer Brad Bowles swooped in with a blanket to grab the eagle. The bird is in stable condition at the Broadbent Wildlife Sanctuary in Meade County being treated for some type of toxic food poisoning. Veterinarian Michael O'Bryan believes the male bald eagle will make a full recovery and be released into the wild again. As for the first responders and the Thorton's they say it was all a matter of fate.
"It's a national bird you got to give it help. You just can't let the nation's bird lay out there and die if you see one injured," says Patrick Thornton.
"Once we had collected it and I had it wrapped in my arms Mr. Thornton made the remark that how awesome is this that this being 9/11 that we've captured an injured eagle and it just dawned on me then the significance of it," says Officer Bowles.