Astoria man pulls drowning bald eagle from Columbia River



Posted on May 15, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Updated Saturday, May 15 at 6:26 PM

ASTORIA, Ore. - An Astoria man on his way home from a fishing trip on the Columbia River last weekend rescued a drowning bald eagle east of the  Megler Bridge.

Dave Crow, who owns a drywall company, said he thought the bird flopping in the river was a pelican.

As he motored over he discovered the bald eagle.

"I was shocked. I'm like, how did that thing get in the water? But my reaction was to save it cause they're not meant to swim." said Crow.

As his 11-year-old son scampered to the front of the boat, Crow grabbed his fishing net and scooped up the exhausted bird.

"He was really tired at first so his wings were just kinda hanging down and I kinda just let him sit on the back of the boat there a little bit until he was able to pick his wings up then," Crow said. "He wasn't  being aggressive so I just set him down in the bottom of my boat and kept him in the sunlight so he could warm up. He was shivering pretty bad," Crow said.

His son watched from a safe distance.
"They're majestic enough in the air. But up close, his talons were as big as my hand so yeah, he hung out from the cutty cabin."
David Lee Myers watched it from a nearby boat and said he thought the bird had been floundering in the water for at least an hour. He snapped some photos of the rescue.

Crow called Fish and Wildlife agents who called the Wildlife Center of the North Coast. Rescue Director Sharnelle Fee took the eagle, cleaned it, warmed it and after an overnight stay at the center, released it Monday morning.

Fee said sometimes birds can get caught if they get a fish that is too big or get thrown in the water during a fight, but it was unknown how this particular eagle was injured.

Dave Crow and his son went home with a story they'll never forget.

"I'm just happy I could do my part. It was a really good experience for me and my son and I'm glad I was in the right place at the right time to help the eagle. They're a cool bird," Crow said.