Discovered dangled in a fishing line, bald eagle released back into wild after rehab effort

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This father of 10 and symbol of our nation and freedom was in quite a bit of peril, dangling upside down and caught in a fishing line over the Huron River in Ann Arbor, Michigan, according to the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

It happened earlier this month, when a bald eagle that has been featured on a nest cam in Ann Arbor, known as “Fred,” was discovered about four feet from shore and one foot from the water, along the river trapped on a branch.

Caught in some loose fishing line and tied to the branch, Fred was unable to fly -- and several of his feathers had been broken.

Fortunately, the bird was discovered by a good Samaritan, who called the Humane Society of Huron Valley to begin a rescue and rehabilitation operation that provided relief to those who’ve watched Fred on the nest cam.

Since 2015, Fred and Marge have raised 10 eaglets in their Ann Arbor nest, and, according to the Humane Society, many who watch the cam on YouTube became concerned about Fred’s whereabouts when they didn’t see him for a period of time.

The concerns were validated when Fred was discovered trapped.

“He was ... tangled up, and many of his feathers had been broken,” said rescue agent Michael Shivak on the Humane Society’s website. “Thankfully, with our veterinarians’ help, we were able to remove the rest of the fishing line from the bird, who luckily didn’t suffer a major break in either of his wings.”

Once located by the Humane Society of Huron Valley, Fred was freed from the line and taken to Howell Nature Center, which had a 100-foot pen to help rehabilitate him.

“He came in physically OK,” said Lizzy Schultz, director of community engagement and programs at the Nature Center. “There wasn’t any real trauma to his body. We just did some flight testing to make sure he was 100 percent ready to go, and he passed all those tests.”

Fred was released back into the wild May 16.

A video of Fred, provided by the Howell Nature Center, is above.

Since then, the Humane Society said Fred has been spotted back with his family, who are obviously the happiest of all to see their daddy/mate back and healthy.

The incident also served as a reminder for people to be careful about littering when fishing.

“We see way too many wild animals injured and killed by improperly disposed of fishing gear every year,” Humane Society of Huron Valley CEO Tanya Hilgendorf said on the website. “It’s sad and, honestly, quite frustrating.”

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