N.J. American Water employees rescue injured bald eagle
Two employees of Cherry Hill, N.J.-based New Jersey American Water (NJAW) became accidental heroes while performing routine maintenance at the company’s Canoe Brook Water Treatment Plant in Short Hills, N.J., on Dec. 17. They discovered and helped rescue an injured bald eagle.
A maintenance worker who first spotted the downed eagle near a marshy area initially thought it was a hawk. Upon closer inspection, NJAW Environmental Manager Gary Matthews discovered it was a juvenile, female bald eagle. Matthews called the Millington, N.J.-based Raptor Trust, a wild bird rehabilitation center, which sent a team to help capture the bird. “True partnerships with groups and companies such as [NJAW] are what allow the Raptor Trust to be so effective in fulfilling its mission to rehabilitate wild birds and preserve their habitats — especially formerly endangered species like the bald eagle,” said Cathy Malok of The Raptor Trust, who netted the eagle.
The team named the eagle “Brooke,” after the Canoe Brook facility where she was found. Brooke evaded initial attempts at capture, eventually working her way to a patch of grass several yards into a marshy area ranging in depth from 6 inches to 5 feet that was beginning to ice over. Using two shallow water kayaks, the team drove the eagle back to shore where she was netted and transported back to the Raptor Trust facility for examination.
The examination revealed that Brooke suffers from severe lead poisoning, likely contracted from buckshot consumed from deer carcasses, according to Raptor Trust veterinarians. Neurological impairment from the poisoning inhibited her ability to fly. Brooke is expected to fully recuperate and will be returned to the wild near the Canoe Brook. “New Jersey American Water takes its role as an environmental steward seriously, and this rescue is a perfect example of that in action. We are proud of our employees and their dedication to the community and the environment,” said NJAW President John Bigelow.