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Hiker's rescue of injured bald eagle in Thomaston takes flight on social media

The story of a hiker rescuing an injured bald eagle in Thomaston took off on social media thanks in part to a picture.

News 12 Staff

Dec 28, 2020, 6:29 PM

Updated 1,272 days ago

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Hiker's rescue of injured bald eagle in Thomaston takes flight on social media
The story of a hiker rescuing an injured bald eagle in Thomaston took off on social media thanks in part to a picture.
The picture shows a bird wrapped in DEEP environmental conservation enforcement officer John Chickos' jacket in a backpack.
Hiker Joe Colombie, 22, found the eagle Wednesday at the Thomaston Dam.
"I was probably like four miles north of the dam on the paved road that they have there and that's where I saw the eagle on the side," says Colombie.
Colombie says the bird clearly couldn't fly so he called for help and was asked to carry the eagle out of the trail on his own.
Colombie tells News 12 he sat with the bird and talked to it for about an hour before trying to pick it up.
"It was heavy at first so I was holding it like arms-length away from me, but that got very tiring so I brought it in closer to me and I was singing it America the Beautiful as I was walking back with it," says Colombie. "So that calmed it down a little bit I think."
A park ranger eventually met Colombie with his truck and turned the eagle over to officer Chickos.
"I used my jacket cause that's what I had available at the time," says Chickos. "I wrapped it around and zipped it up so the head could come out of the top and then I wrapped the arms around it kind of like a swaddle like you'd swaddle a baby, then I placed it in my backpack to try to get it warmed up."
Officer Chickos then belted the eagle in and set off for the rehab facility.
"It was surreal at first," says Chickos. "I was just kind of driving across the dam here and I looked over and just saw the symbolism of it and I took the picture."
Chickos drove to the Sharon Audubon Center where the bird is now recovering. Staff there say the eagle has a fractured wing but is healthy. They're hopeful it will be back in the wild soon.



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