When Canadian brothers Michael and Neil Fletcher set off for a day of sage grouse hunting in Ontario recently, they ended up crossing paths with a much bigger bird. While scoping out the woods, the pair discovered a bald eagle stuck in a claw trap, and quickly came to its rescue.

Of course, the best thing to do should you find yourself in a similar situation is to call local wildlife control, but given the circumstances, we're happy to report that neither the eagle nor its human helpers were hurt during the process. The bird appeared in good condition when released. 

Although just one of the eagle's two-inch (5cm) talons was caught in the trap, it was enough of a snare to keep the frightened bird from flying free. "It was struggling, and trying to fly upwards but it couldn't," the brothers told the BBC. "We were a bit nervous at first, but after a minute [the eagle] calmed down and so did we." 

The hunters placed a sweatshirt over the animal's eyes to reduce stress while they worked to open the trap's clamping mechanism. "We just kind of held on to it, and it calmed right down. I was surprised by the size, and that it’s such a beautiful bird. When you see the eyes up close, they’re really amazing,” added Michael.

Just how long the eagle was trapped remains a mystery, but the Fletchers didn't see any obvious signs of bleeding or injury. After posing for a quick selfie (and that's a definite no-no), they hoisted the large bird into the sky, at which point it flew to a nearby tree. 

The pair reportedly contacted the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, who will be investigating the incident further. 


Top header image: Doug Brown, Flickr