VANCOUVER, Canada—An amazing animal rescue began when Randy Sadler’s radio screeched. Commercial divers had been harvesting giant, clam-like geoducks off the west coast of Vancouver Island and were ready to offload their haul onto his ship.
Sadler—who had been sport fishing with the rest of his crew aboard the 42-foot fishing troller Nina Ellen—began to bring in his lines. A few seconds later, he heard another screech—this one much louder than the radio. A Bald Eagle was trapped on his Kitetail “flasher,” an attractor used to lure fish towards bait further down the line. “I was reeling up my other rod and the line started screaming.” said Sadler. “He just got tangled. He didn’t actually get hooked. I guess he thought the lure was a rock fish.”
Sadler, who owns the British Columbia based Kitetail Lures Company says he’s caught some pretty big fish using the Kitetail before, but never a bird of prey.
The crew of the Nina Ellen managed to reel in and untangle the great bird, but it was soaked and unable to fly.
Concerned that the eagle would catch hypothermia in the 49 degree water of Nootka Sound, Sadler brought the bird aboard using a bait net. “We put a shirt over his head so he wouldn’t bite me. There was a big oil stove in the ship’s cabin so we let him drum his wings back and forth to dry off.”
Sadler said it took the eagle a few hours to completely dry, but the best remedy might have been a little home-cooking. “I thought he might need a little pickup. I don’t know if we should have done that but we gave him a little sugar water and he perked right up. A moment after that he was ready to fly away.”
Sadler says the eagle never tried to bite him or his son, who recorded the rescue on a camcorder, before flying away. “He knew we were trying to help him.” Play the video above to see.