Greene County bald eagle rescue ends with canoe ride on park ranger’s lap

Greene County Parks and Trails Park Ranger Jason Smedley rescued a bald eagle from the pond of a private property in Greene County on Sunday.
Caption
Greene County Parks and Trails Park Ranger Jason Smedley rescued a bald eagle from the pond of a private property in Greene County on Sunday.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

A rescue mission for a bird of prey with up to two-inch talons is no easy paddle up the creek.

Yet, that’s just what Greene County Parks and Trails Park Ranger Jason Smedley accomplished this weekend when a bald eagle was found stuck in a root ball along the banks of a pond on a private property.

On Sunday, Smedley was on patrol when a dispatch call came through that the district’s wildlife officer was not on duty. Smedley, who said he someday hopes to be a wildlife officer himself, jumped into action and into a canoe.

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“My guess is the eagle was trying to get some fish and he got his foot stuck into the (root) ball,” Smedley said. “Well I got to him and I was able to get into the bank a little bit, coming down. I tried to rip the roots out by hand a little bit, but he was so tangled up that it was like a ball of rubber bands around his talons.”

The ranger used a knife to cut the roots from the water, though the distressed eagle still had a ball of roots tangled around its talon.

Greene County Parks and Trails Park Ranger Jason Smedley rescued a bald eagle from the pond of a private property in Greene County on Sunday.
Caption
Greene County Parks and Trails Park Ranger Jason Smedley rescued a bald eagle from the pond of a private property in Greene County on Sunday.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

“He kind of hopped on land a little bit, so I was able to get some rags to throw on his face to calm him down so he wouldn’t scratch me,” Smedley said.

With this tactic, Smedley was able to free the rest of the root ball from the talon. Smedley almost got away unscathed, though the ranger did get one scratch on his leg from the bird as he was getting the eagle back into the canoe.

With bald eagle in lap, the ranger and bird paddled to safety.

The eagle is now in the care of the Glen Helen Raptor Center in Yellow Springs, receiving treatment for some wing damage the bird endured while trying to free itself. After some care and observation from the raptor center, Smedley said the hope is to get the eagle back to flying in the wild.

Due to the expansive range a bald eagle covers across a region, Smedley said it wasn’t clear as to where this bald eagle originated or where its nest was located.

The raptor center was not immediately available at the time of this report to provide an update on the eagle’s condition.

Greene County Parks and Trails Park Ranger Jason Smedley rescued a bald eagle from the pond of a private property in Greene County on Sunday.
Caption
Greene County Parks and Trails Park Ranger Jason Smedley rescued a bald eagle from the pond of a private property in Greene County on Sunday.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED