SALEM, N.H. – A bald eagle found in an animal trap on Thanksgiving Day was freed by police who watched it fly away apparently unharmed beyond a small cut on its leg, Salem police said Friday.
On Thursday afternoon James Ransom of Metheun, Mass., who was scouting hunting locations, called police to report he'd found the eagle next to the recently skinned remains of a beaver.
"It is being considered a rare and unfortunate incident that fortunately had a happy ending."
- Sgt. Mike Wagner
Police said it appeared the eagle was attempting to feed on the beaver and got caught in the trap.
Officer John O'Donnell covered the eagle with a blanket while Ransom worked to untangle the bird's wing from around a small tree and to release the jaws of the trap.
They determined there was just a minor cut on one of the eagle's talons, where the trap had snapped shut.
Sgt. Mike Wagner attempted to pick him up with the blanket, but the eagle was fine and flew right out of his hands. The group watched as the eagle flew several hundred yards away and landed on top of a large pine tree.
Wagner said as they worked to free the eagle, the officers were able to find an identification band on the leg of the eagle, which contained a serial number.
Police later determined the trap was in compliance with state law and the identification tag for the owner was found at the scene. The eagle was not the intended target of the trap.
"It is being considered a rare and unfortunate incident that fortunately had a happy ending," Wagner said.