It was a close encounter of the bird kind. In fact, with Canada’s largest bird of prey.
Brothers Neil and Michael Fletcher (27 and 29 years old, respectively) were out Tuesday hunting for grouse near Windy Lake – around 50 kilometres west of Sudbury – when they came across a bald eagle with one talon caught in a fur trap.
“I kind of knew right away what was going on,” Neil told Global News.
Neil said it seemed as though the bird had only been caught for a few hours but they wanted to release it from the trap as soon as possible.
“He was trying to fly away and I was obviously a little nervous,” said Neil. “But as soon I told Mike to put something over his head, he kind of calmed down right away.”
That’s when they were able to open the trap, releasing the bird’s foot.
They estimate that the bird’s wingspan was around six feet wide, but the impressive bird remained calm long enough for the brothers to snap an incredible selfie together, which has made headlines around the world.
“It turned out to be an awesome photo! But our intentions were never to get this kind of publicity. Our main goal was to free it,” said Neil. “I’m sure anybody else would have done the same thing.”
The nature-loving brothers didn’t catch any grouse that day, but they did end up saving one more bird.
“There was a raven or a crow caught in a trap about 50 yards away and we freed him too – two birds in one day!”