'Freedom' finds it's rough out there

July 05, 1996|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

The radio call came over loud and clear: "We have a report of the eagle down in the water."

Coast Guard vessel No. 41330 was serving as the security detail for President Clinton yesterday morning. But the ship and two Navy vessels ended up charging through the Chesapeake Bay to save an eagle named "Freedom."

"It's quite something, being that close to an eagle and rescuing it on Independence Day," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Tom Cooper, 30.

Two, possibly four, ospreys had attacked the 9-pound female eagle less than a mile from where it was released, after the eagle flew over an osprey nesting site. The ospreys chased the 3-year-old eagle, and one hit her in the back.

When Cooper's boat arrived on the scene, the eagle was floating in the water. The bird was scooped up and pulled on board.

The eagle, which was given antibiotics, will spend the next two days at the Tristate Bird Rescue and Research Organization in Newark, Del., said Craig Koppie, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Annapolis.

Pub Date: 7/05/96

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