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Bald eagle trapped in Alaska tree rescued on 4th of July

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A bird symbolizing America's freedom had to be liberated on Independence Day after becoming stuck in a tree in Alaska, a wildlife official said. An adult, female bald eagle was hurt but conscious Saturday after being untangled from a spruce tree in Juneau, The Juneau Empire reported Saturday.

“She was up about 40 feet (12 meters) in a Sitka spruce tree,” said Kathy Benner, general manager of the Juneau Raptor Center. The center received the report of the stranded eagle around 10 a.m. The bird was stuck in the tree near the historic Ernest Gruening Cabin in Ernest Gruening State Historical Park, Benner said.

Steve Lewis of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ascended the tree using climbing spikes on his shoes and carried the eagle down in a bag around 3 p.m. Wildlife officials initially believed the eagle’s wing had become tethered to a tree branch by fishing line, but closer inspection revealed a cable or wire had restrained the bird, Benner said.

The eagle was taken by airplane to the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka, which was expected to determine whether the bird suffered a broken bone. The eagle appeared to be alert and “feisty” before the flight Saturday evening, Benner said.

While bald eagle rescues are not rare, Benner could not recall a previous instance of the U.S. national bird requiring assistance on the Fourth of July. “We feel pretty good about the rescue, especially on Independence Day,” Benner said.

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