ST. PAUL, Minn. – The baby bald eagle rescued last summer near Rush City after hanging upside down at the end of a rope, will not be going back to the wild.
The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota has determined the eagle could not hunt for survival due to damage to the talons on its left foot.
“He just doesn’t have the foot quality he needs to catch prey,” said Julie Ponder, executive director of The Raptor Center. “We think that’s probably from circulatory impairment from hanging from that foot.”
The eagle hung upside down for more than two days after getting tangled in the rope high in a tree. Afghanistan war veteran Jason Galvin used a .22 rifle to shoot through the rope to bring the eagle down.
Galvin, and the crowd that gathered to watch, named the eagle Freedom, a moniker that stuck after the bird arrived at the raptor center eight months ago.
Galvin expressed disappointment after learning Freedom won’t return to the woods where he found him. “Every time I go up to the cabin I look at that branch where he was hanging from and, you know, I think about him,” the veteran said.
The Raptor Center is hoping Freedom can adapt to a new life as one of the center’s educational ambassadors.
“Up till this point we’ve tried very hard to keep Freedom wild and not adapted to humans,” said Ponder. “Now we’ve flipped the switch, now we need to see if he can adapt to humans.”