SARATOGA SPRINGS - Nancy Kimball of Diamond Point wrapped her arms around a full-grown Bald Eagle Monday night after three other wildlife rehabilitators eased him out of a large cage and pulled a hood over his head.
The strong, proud bird of prey, with a wingspan of 7 feet, tensed up his muscles and stretched his legs out.
"I can feel him breathing," she said as wildlife rehabilitator Cara Huffman squirted the eagle's wounded foot with sterile water and smeared antiseptic ointment onto its foot-pads, adjacent to its sharp, lengthy talons. Huffman then injected an antibiotic into its beak.
One of the volunteers took the hood off, and Kimball took the 10.5-pound eagle, wrapped like a burrito in a towel, back toward his steel cage.
The bird flexed its muscles, apparently in an effort to get away. Kimball gently tightened her bear hug, and placed him back in the cage and shut the door.
Every day since early December this treatment routine, has been repeated. Monday, it was conducted in the home of Cara Huffman, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator from Saratoga Springs, who's worked at Schroon River Animal Hospital in Warrensburg for 10 years. She's a member of North Country Wild Care, an animal rescue group based in Lake George.
Several times recently, the Bald Eagle has been x-rayed, examined and treated in Warrensburg.
The eagle was found Dec. 6 dangling upside down from a hemlock tree, with a leg-hold small-animal trap gripping one of its legs near Sacandaga Lake in Hamilton County.
The man who set the trap found the bird dangling 15 or 20 feet in the air, and alerted state Department of Conservation authorities.
The bald eagle had apparently been drawn to the area of the trap by a dead beaver carcass used as bait, according to Forest Ranger Tom Eakin, who helped rescue the bird.