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Under their wing; officers rescue eagle

Osakis Police Chief Chad Gulbranson wraps a blanket around a bald eagle that he and other officers found injured in a corn field. (Contributed)

An Osakis resident witnessed an unusual sight on Oct. 27: Two bald eagles collided mid-air, causing one to plummet into a corn field near County Road 3.

The witness called police and Chief Chad Gulbranson, who was off-duty, Officer Allyssa Engfer and Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Jake Asfeld responded. They could tell the eagle was badly injured. It was awkwardly hopping around in the harvested field, unable to take flight, and appeared to have a broken wing.

Gulbranson drove his pickup out into the slippery, mucky field and with the help of a blanket and a fish net, they were able to get the eagle into a pet boarder cage.

The rescue wasn't without danger.

"Those talons and that beak — oof, they're sharp — they could mess you up pretty quick," said Gulbranson.

They kept the eagle overnight in the police garage, feeding it a few large sucker minnows donated by Brother's Market in Osakis, and then it was taken to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul.

The police department contacted the center recently to see how the eagle was doing and it received the following response in an email from Jamie Clark, certified veterinary technician:

"The bald eagle is still in our care. We did have a cardiology consult and the bird does have a pretty severe heart arrhythmia (an irregular heart beat). We are not sure of the cause or the implications of this but are moving forward with the bird and are starting flight reconditioning. Time will tell if the bird will be releasable."

The center is currently taking care of 47 raptors, including nine bald eagles.

About The Raptor Center

Established in 1974 as part of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, The Raptor Center rehabilitates around 1,000 sick and injured raptors each year, while helping to identify emerging environmental issues related to raptor health and populations.

An internationally renowned education facility, The Raptor Center trains veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world to become future leaders in raptor medicine and conservation.

In addition, The Raptor Center reaches approximately 150,000 people annually through its public education programs and events.

The Raptor Center depends on public support for 60 percent of its annual budget. To donate, go to the website, www.raptor.umn.edu.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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