Injured bald eagle rescued, released in Wayne Co., MO - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Injured bald eagle rescued, released in Wayne Co., MO

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
WAYNE COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

After spending the last two months recovering from severe injuries in captivity, a bald eagle returned to the wild in Wayne County, Missouri on Monday, Dec. 12 all thanks to a group of local fisherman.

The female bird took her first flight since October when she got hooked on a bank fishing line someone left behind.

John Watkins, a certified eagle rehab specialist, nursed the bird back to health.

"She had an infection in the wrist but she also been had hanging so long that she probably had some nerve damage," Watkins said.

Watkins said the eagle got rest and antibiotics while in his care.

He said if it weren't for the three men that found her, she would not have stood a chance.

"She would have been dead,” he said. “She probably wouldn't have made it another 24-hours."

One of those fishermen, Drew Allen, returned to see the bird off.

"We were just trying to help and get it back to life because it is our national bird," Allen said. "It was neat to save it."

Allen, his dad, Mike Allen, and a friend, Dylan Jimmerson, freed the injured bird and even took it home for a night when they could not immediately get a hold of the game warden.

An effort recognized by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

"To have folks in the communities that care about resources as they do it means a lot to the department," Ripley County agent Eric Long said.

The kindness, expertise and commitment of all those involved gave one bald eagle another chance.

"I'll never forget this," Allen said.

The eagle was released near Patterson on the St. Francois River where it was found.

Wildlife experts say the bird will likely return to its mate and nearby nest for the winter season.

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