ASTORIA, Ore. -- An eagle rescued from the Columbia River Thursday was released back into the wild Saturday.
On Thursday afternoon, students and staff of the Tongue Point Job Corps were aboard a ship when they saw a bald eagle flapping in the water.
The crew was able to scoop up the eagle, which they named ‘Salty,’ and get it safely aboard.
The eagle was then turned over to the nonprofit Wildlife Center of the North Coast, where volunteers and staff cleaned the bird.
“What probably happened – this is a guess – is that the eagle went down for prey, went too hard and got his wings in the water then ruffled his feathers, which allowed water to get into the spaces between the feathers,” said Joshua Saranpaa, assistant director of the wildlife center. “That made him too heavy to fly and resulted in the bird getting soaking wet.”
Staff washed the eagle to make sure he didn’t have contaminated feathers, then hand fed him and let him preen his feathers.
On Saturday, the bird was released back to the wild.
“We know he is perfectly healthy and fully capable of going back into the wild,” Saranpaa said. “It is nesting season and the sooner we can get him back out, the sooner he can return to his nest if he has one.”
Salty was released in Astoria around 12:30 p.m.