Bald Eagle Rescue from Lake Auman
By Assistant Chief Michael Gunther
August 17, 2020

West End Fire and Rescue was contacted by Seven Lakes West residents Marge and Tom Holleman who were kayaking that morning. The female Eagle was waterlogged and exhausted in the area of Pine Island on Lake Auman.

West End Fire and Rescue contacted Moore County and North Carolina Wildlife for assistance. Lt Matt Scott, FF Austin Puckett and Nick Stamatopoulos along with NC Wildlife Officer Garrett Gooch performed the water rescue. The Bald Eagle's talons are razor sharp and even with this knowledge everyone that was on scene eagerly entered the water endangering themselves to save this bird. The safest way to extract her from the water was to utilize a large recycle bin. Once she was inside they transported her to Bryson Wortham of Holly’s Nest in Sanford, a nonprofit wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility. She was also examined by a veterinarian who determined that she was uninjured. The bird was estimated to be about 10 years old, weighing just over nine pounds and she had a 7’ 3” wingspan.
They did find dirt in her nostrils and believe that when she dove into the lake to hunt she was in a more shallow area and hit the bottom. She was probably confused and being in the water her feathers became waterlogged and heavy so she was unable to fly away.

The next day after she rested and dried out she was returned to Lake Auman to be released. In attendance was Mr. and Mrs Hollerman, Officer Gooch, personnel from West End Fire and Rescue and Bryson Wortham from Holly's Nest. When the Bald Eagle was released she immediately took flight and was joined by her mate who was watching and waiting in the nearby treetops.

In North Carolina, the bald eagle is listed as a threatened species. Under federal and state law, it is illegal for anyone to injure, harass, kill or possess a bird of prey or any parts of a bird of prey. This includes harming or removing a nest.

If you find an injured bald eagle, contact the Wildlife Enforcement Division at 1-800-662-7137, or (919) 707-0040 or the US Fish and Wildlife Service at (919) 856-4786.