Joseph Molotsky of Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue, left, holds an eagle that Annie Espinoza, center, rescued with her friend Kate Burks last month near McDonald Creek. Her uncle, Daniel McMurray, right, drove her to the rescue center the next morning so the bird could be treated. It continues to be treated for a possible hip and/or spinal injury. (Dungeness Bay Wild Bird Rescue)

Joseph Molotsky of Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue, left, holds an eagle that Annie Espinoza, center, rescued with her friend Kate Burks last month near McDonald Creek. Her uncle, Daniel McMurray, right, drove her to the rescue center the next morning so the bird could be treated. It continues to be treated for a possible hip and/or spinal injury. (Dungeness Bay Wild Bird Rescue)

Teens help save eagle near McDonald Creek

Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue continuing care for injured bird

SEQUIM — A routine hike turned into a wildlife rescue mission for two Sequim teens.

Annie Espinoza, 15, said she and friend Kate Burks were exploring McDonald Creek by Annie’s house about 5:30 p.m. on May 10 when they saw an eagle.

“We thought it was weird,” said Espinoza, a sophomore at Sequim High School. “We thought, ‘Maybe he’ll fly away,’ so we kept our distance.

“Then we realized he was injured.”

Espinoza said they went back to her house and called her mom, who recommended they call a bird rescue to see what to do.

They got a call back and were told to put him in a box and bring him to Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue the next day.

Over about a 45-minute span of discovering the eagle and getting it into a large box, Espinoza said the experience wasn’t too scary.

“It was mainly (Kate) who had the courage, who said, ‘I’ll go behind the bird and push him in. You put the box over him,’” Espinoza said.

There were a lot of struggles to get the eagle in the box, she said, as he tried to nip at them and his wings or talons would pop out of the box.

The friends nicknamed the eagle “Abe” after Abraham Lincoln because they felt the presidential connection was fitting for an icon like a bald eagle.

Abe couldn’t walk or fly, so Espinoza and her family kept him safe in a children’s wading pool in a sectioned-off area on the side of their house. They gave him some water to drink.

“He just kept quiet,” Espinoza said. “The only thing it did, it had its mouth open and was wiggling its tongue at us.”

The next morning, Espinoza and her uncle Daniel McMurray got Abe back in a box and drove him to Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue.

Cindy Daily, the founder and director of Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue, said what Espinoza and Burks were able to do was fantastic, especially for their age.

“They did a great job and were amazing,” Daily said.

“A lot of people who call in eagles don’t want to get near them, but these girls knew it was hurt and something was wrong.”

Daily said Abe seems to be suffering from a spinal and/or hip injury and cannot stand up, as of late last week.

“I didn’t see any fractures,” she said. “We’re treating it to help with swelling and any discomfort.

“We’re giving it supportive care, feeding it, making sure to prop it up and watching to see improvements.”

Daily said they are seeing some little steps with its legs able to move in and out.

She thinks the eagle could have been hit by a car.

“We rely on finders like Annie who have the compassion to stop and rescue a bird,” Daily said. “Any time someone shows compassion, we’re here for them.”

Espinoza said she feels good about their actions.

“I feel like we did a good thing,” she said. “I try and help out where I can and feel you should do your part in the community.”

Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue, 1014 Parkridge Drive int Port Townsend, is the go-to spot for Clallam and Jefferson counties’ bird rescues, Daily said. They treat an array of birds, from hummingbirds to seabirds to backyard birds to eagles.

Daily said many baby birds can be spotted on the ground that at this time of year, and that might not mean there’s a problem as they may spend a few days there learning from their parents.

As for seabirds, she said it’s not normal for them to be stranded on beaches.

Those with concerns or questions can call the center at 360-379-0802 to see if a bird needs to be rescued.

For more information about the center, visit discoverybaywildbirdrescue.com.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of newspapers Peninsula News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at matthew.nash@sequimgazette.com.

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