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West Newbury police rescue injured bald eagle

The eagle was stuck near a bank of the Merrimack River.

West Newbury Animal Control Officer Kayla Provencher and dispatcher Bob Pierce rescued a bald eagle on Sunday. West Newbury Police Department

West Newbury police officers rescued an injured bald eagle that was stuck near a river bank Sunday afternoon.

In a news release Monday, police said they got a call on Sunday reporting an injured bald eagle on the banks of the Merrimack River on River Road.

Responding officers found the eagle in a brush-covered area next to the river bank and requested assistance from Animal Control Officer Kayla Provencher, police said. Dispatcher Bob Pierce also had experience with injured eagles, so he responded to the scene as well.

West Newbury Animal Control Officer Kayla Provencher and dispatcher Bob Pierce rescued a bald eagle on Sunday. – West Newbury Police Department

Provencher said in the release that eagles are excellent swimmers and fast on their feet, so one of the biggest challenges was ensuring the eagle didn’t get scared and flee into the river. She said it’s unlikely they would have been able to catch and help it had it done so.

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Pierce began by wading into the river to prevent the eagle from fleeing in that direction, while Provencher captured the bird using a long net and some blankets and towels, the release said.

Then, while wearing thick gloves and taking precautions to protect themselves from the eagle’s sharp talons and beak, Pierce and Provencher worked together to get the eagle out of the net and into an animal crate without further injury, the release said.

“At one point, he grabbed my gloves with his talons and I could feel the pressure,” Provencher said. “I could not just pull my hand away, so I had to wait for him to release.”

West Newbury Animal Control Officer Kayla Provencher and dispatcher Bob Pierce rescued a bald eagle on Sunday. – West Newbury Police Department

Despite the challenges, Provencher and Pierce secured the bald eagle in a large animal crate and took it to a local wildlife rehabilitation center, the release said. The center later transferred the eagle to the Tufts University Cummings Veterinary Medical Center in Grafton for treatment.

“We respond to a wide variety of emergencies in West Newbury, and I am proud of the teamwork that was on display during this complex call,” Police Chief Michael Dwyer said in the release.

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