Last Saturday was meant to be a pleasurable morning (or day) of perch fishing.
It turned out to be a bit more of an adventure for Dave Meadows, 51, of Street, who was startled from his early morning fishing trip on the bank of the Susquehanna, just upriver from the mouth of Deer Creek. At around 5:30, he began hearing a rustling sound in the trees behind him as he fished from shore. Meadows turned to find a bald eagle, a majestic bird so beautiful it is one of our country's iconic images.
The bird was tangled in fishing line and hanging about nine feet above the ground. Meadow went into action, trying unsuccessfully to get help from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and from a private wildlife rescue organization. When that didn't work, he threw his raincoat over the eagle, which by then had fallen to the ground but was no less tangled.
After about two minutes to let the bird calm down, Meadows freed the bird and watched it fly away.
Meadows is to be praised for doing such a good deed, which was no easy feat considering the size of the bird and the inherent dangers of working with trapped, panicked wildlife trying to get free.
At the time Meadows discovered his eagle in distress, Natural Resources Police were responding to calls of three other bald eagles in distress in Baltimore County, leaving no one to respond to the Meadows location. Four bald eagles in distress at the same time in neighboring counties is an oddity that left one man to free an eagle on his own.
While it had to be an unsettling time for bird and man, it's clearly a good sign about the overall health of the bald eagle population which is in far better shape than it was not too many years ago.