WEST NEWBURY — West Newbury Police, West Newbury Dispatcher Bob Pierce, and Animal Control Officer Kayla Provencher teamed up Sunday to rescue an injured bald eagle.
On Sunday, July 31, at approximately 2:08 p.m., West Newbury Police Sgt. Rich Parenteau and Officer Matt Dixon responded to a report of an injured bald eagle on the banks of the Merrimack River on River Road.
Responding officers located the eagle in a brush-covered area adjacent to the river bank, and requested assistance from Animal Control Officer Kayla Provencher, who responded.
West Newbury Dispatcher Bob Pierce, who got experience with injured eagles several years ago when two juvenile eagles that were nesting near his yard had to be rescued after leaving their nest too early, also responded to the scene to assist Provencher.
Provencher said one of the biggest challenges was that eagles are excellent swimmers and very fast on their feet as well, so she and Pierce had to ensure the eagle would not get scared and flee into the river, as it was unlikely they would ever be able to catch and help it at that point.
Pierce entered the river to prevent the eagle from fleeing that direction, and Provencher was able to capture the bird using a long net and some blankets and towels. Pierce and Provencher then worked together, in thick brush, to get the eagle out of the net and into an animal crate without further injury, all while wearing thick gloves and taking precautions to protect themselves from the eagle’s potentially dangerous talons and beak.
“At one point he grabbed my gloves with his talons and I could feel the pressure,” Provencher said. “I could not just pull my hand away so I had to wait for him to release.”
Despite the challenges, Provencher and Pierce got the bald eagle secured into a large animal crate and transported it to a local wildlife rehabilitation center, which later transferred the eagle to the Tufts University Cummings Veterinary Medical Center in Grafton for treatment.
“We respond to a wide variety of emergencies in West Newbury, and I am proud of the teamwork that was on display during this complex call,” said Chief Dwyer. “Our dispatchers, police officers, and animal control take pride in their service to our community.”