Injured Bald Eagle Rescued In Oak Lawn Yard

The eagle has landed, and he injured his wing. Dramatic Oak Lawn bald eagle rescue.

Standing about six feet away from Oak Lawn's baldie sitting on a chain link fence in a resident's back yard near 89th Place and Ridgeland. Credit: Barry Adamczyk
Standing about six feet away from Oak Lawn's baldie sitting on a chain link fence in a resident's back yard near 89th Place and Ridgeland. Credit: Barry Adamczyk

Barry Adamczyk has come up close and personal with Oak Lawn’s wildlife. He’s fished raccoons out of  attics, chased opossum from garages, and dealt with foxes, but he never got a call like the one he received Thursday morning from a resident reporting an injured eagle in his backyard.

“My first thought, ‘yeah, right,’” Adamczyk said, the animal control officer for Oak Lawn. “I doubt it’s an eagle. We get all kinds of calls for hawks."

When Adamczyk arrived at the man’s house near 89th Place and Ridgeland, he pointed out the bird sitting on the chain link fence.

“It had a white head. It was definitely a big bird,” Adamczyk said. “I thought, ‘Holy cow, this is a bald eagle.”

The homeowner told Adamczyk that he’d been watching the big fella in his backyard for a few days.

“He was flapping around,” Adamczyk said.

Adamczyk called in another animal control officer from Stickney Township for reinforcement. When Rob Negrete arrived in the resident’s backyard his first reaction was: “Oh. my God, that’s a bald eagle.”

Both animal control officers were beside themselves with excitement. The eagle only had enough lift to get four feet off the ground -- about as high as the resident’s chain link fence.

READ: Bald Eagles Nesting in Palos Township (Palos Patch, December 2012)

“He looked like he had a broken wing,” Adamczyk said.

Adamczyk and his colleague gathered some equipment for the wildlife rescue.

“We weren’t going to sit there and debate who got to pick him up,” Adamczyk said. “I had the net and the binos, and Rob had the gloves so he just bent down and scooped him up.”

The eagle was definitely aware of what was happening and didn’t put up a fight.

“I don’t think his actions were normal so he could have been dehydrated,” Adamczyk said. “It was easy going, he didn’t try to nip. The whole rescue took about five minutes.”

The animal control officers snapped a few photos of the bald eagle before placing it in a large dog carrier.

“Other than a broken wing, he seemed in good health,” Adamcyzk said.

The eagle was brought to the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in DuPage County, where hopefully it will be nursed back to health. Animal rescue officials were not immediately available for comment on the eagle’s condition.

Adamczyk believes the eagle to be a young male.

In recent years, bald eagles have been growing in numbers and have become more common in parts of the continental United States.

Bald eagles have been popping up around Chicago’s North Side and near the 135th Street and LaGrange area.

A family of bald eagles was found nesting in Palos Township next to a section of the Cook County Forest Preserves near Palos Park, in December 2012.

Chris Merenowicz, the director of resource management for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, called 2012's Palos’ eagle family “an exciting find.” The eagle family was expected to reside in its nest mere miles away from bustling Orland Square Mall through the end of summer.

Bald eagles stand about three feet tall and have a wingspan of six to eight feet. They were once a fairly common sight in the area, but over decades became increasingly scarce and were placed on the U.S. endangered species list in 1967. They weren't  removed from the list until 2007.

The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains a bald eagle page on its site that is updated with news on local eagles.

Seeing the bald eagle was a nice prelude to “baby season,” when it’s time for Adamczyk to start shooing baby opossum out of storage sheds.

“I never though I would come face to face with one,” Adamcyzk said. “It’s a huge great thing to see.”

What should we name the Oak Lawn bald eagle? Tell us in the comments. 

MP February 21, 2014 at 09:57 PM
Why the heck did the guy wait "a few days" before calling someone?
Dana Pyzik February 21, 2014 at 10:16 PM
Wow, I'm glad they were able to get him to safety before the coyotes came visiting. Lorraine, can you keep us updated on his recovery?
Kathleen Nugent February 21, 2014 at 11:45 PM
I live at 83 & Nashville. In the fall of this past yr my daughter saw 2 bald eagles flying over our home. They have been here all winter it seems. She couldn't believe her eyes. But I guess she was right. I hope they can help that injured bird.
Judie February 22, 2014 at 09:18 AM
I like the name Oakie
Ron Williams February 22, 2014 at 12:56 PM
Illinois once offered only a few rare glimpses of what was then a vanishing national symbol, but now the state has become second to Alaska in the U.S. in wintering bald eagle population, experts say. And this year's frigid conditions, combined with the steadily growing population of eagles throughout North America, are bringing the birds into Illinois in greater numbers.
Kathryn Cunningham February 22, 2014 at 01:41 PM
Olan the Oak Lawn Eagle.
Ellen M Schneider February 22, 2014 at 04:42 PM
MM February 22, 2014 at 07:20 PM
MP the resident had been watching the eagle in his yard for a few days. The animal control man called the guy from Stickney at the time he was in the man's backyard.
MM February 22, 2014 at 07:21 PM
I wonder why there is no place in Cook County to take the injured eagle? Little Red Schoolhouse would be appropriate if they had people there to treat injured wildlife. Guess it isn't.
Harry Callahan February 23, 2014 at 08:08 AM
I;m happy for the eagle hope he pulls thru and thanks to the AC officers for helping.
Bill G February 23, 2014 at 09:33 AM
Edward McFadden February 23, 2014 at 10:38 AM
Name the bird "OLBE" Oak lawn bald eagle (Sounds like an old Indian name)
Christina Finn February 23, 2014 at 11:16 AM
These majestic birds that are both our National Treasure and our National Symbol deserve dignified names. They remind us of Freedom in both Flight, Strength and Principles. I would suggest naming this beautiful creature; Endurance!
blue February 23, 2014 at 06:33 PM
Emmanuel is a suitable name. As MM pointed out, "Why is there no place in Cook County to take the injured eagle? Little Red Schoolhouse would be appropriate if they had people there to treat injured wildlife. Guess it isn't." Why aren't schools teaching our children how to rehabilitate wildlife? Offer a volunteer program that you must take in order to graduate from high school. Schools do not teach life skills. If the neighbor knew what to do the eagle would not have suffered for so long. I immediately called the local animal shelter about an injured baby rabbit. I brought it to a woman who rehabilitates wild life. I went back to check on the rabbit. I found out she was only licensed to rehabilitate raccoons. In the meantime there was a dead rabbit in the cage and she seemed surprised. Wildlife, birds, plants, herbs, composers are not on the checklist in schools. Have you ever seen a colon chart in school? We were taught the basics of the human anatomy. If students were taught life skills our success rate would be higher.
Karen S. Brienzo February 23, 2014 at 11:19 PM
Barry the Bald Eagle sounds good to me and as the title for a children's book about the story.
Pamela Hood February 24, 2014 at 02:53 AM
You have to have a Migratory Bird License (federally licenced wildlife rehab) to treat, house and rehab an eagle or any migratory bird/raptor.
Dan February 24, 2014 at 07:52 AM
go to the il. river in morris right off rt.47 10-20 there everyday. beautiful bird.
Cynthia Weglarz February 24, 2014 at 04:22 PM
How about Liberty? Cynthia
Marianne Scoggin March 03, 2014 at 12:59 PM
Blue: Is your exoerience with what the schools are teaching recent? As the g'ma of 3 teens, I'm amazed at what the kids have studied, our basics plus much more, and their field trips. Wildlife; credit cards; banking; home and auto repair (electives); anatomy (elective); safety of all kinds - do not approach injured wildlife - call in experts p - visit to 911 call center - "stranger-danger" (do not get in car to help man with sick puppy!) all just part of 1-week "Safety Town"(age 5 Kiwanis sponsored); world history; cultural differences; and reg. classes (not AP) equal to my college level - I could go on and on and I am not an educator! Willowbrook Center has the experts and facilities to properly care for and release wildlife. Eagle Name: Have the local school kids learn about him and select name.


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