CPW volunteer leads rescue of bald eagle near Eleven Mile State Park
LAKE GEORGE – It took more than three hours and required crawling through a narrow drainage culvert under a road as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer and a team of concerned neighbors rescued an injured bald eagle near Eleven Mile State Park.
The dramatic rescue occurred in temperatures near zero and involved pulling the eagle out on a sled through deep snow.
It all started Sunday afternoon as a man walking his dog in Eleven Mile Canyon below the dam and park and noticed a bald eagle sitting on an unusually low branch. He notified a neighbor who tried to catch the eagle, but only scared it into the drainage culvert.
A call for help reached Teller County and CPW volunteer Joe Kraudelt, who was recently honored by CPW’s Southeast Region for his volunteer work with the agency since 1990 including serving on the county Bear Aware team and frequently transporting injured wildlife to rehabilitation facilities.
Kraudelt drove to the canyon armed with a fishing net and a large plastic dog kennel to catch and transport the eagle.
“It was trapped under the road in a culvert that was 24 inches in diameter and 20 feet long,” Kraudelt said. A slender member of the rescue team squeezed inside to chase the injured eagle toward Kraudelt and other rescuers at the other end of the culvert.
“We worked three hours until finally I was able to get my net over it,” Kraudelt said. “One of the guys grabbed its wings and I grabbed its talons and we put it in our dog crate. It was a real team effort.”
The eagle was taken to Catamount Wildlife Center in Woodland Park where rehabber Terri Collins had it checked by a veterinarian on Monday. It was determined the eagle had a bruised wing and a claw missing from one talon.
The eagle was taken Wednesday to the Wildlife and Nature Discovery Center’s raptor campus in Pueblo for rehabilitation. It is expected to make a full recovery.
“This is a great example of the dedicated work of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s volunteers,” said Tim Kroening, CPW wildlife officer in Teller County who works closely with Kraudelt. “They care so deeply for the wildlife and will go out in terrible weather on weekends and holidays to help perform a rescue like this. Our agency, and the wildlife of Colorado, are so fortunate to have committed volunteers like Joe.”
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