Bald eagles stuck in frozen German Twp. field

Sometimes it’s not a good thing when birds of a feather flock together.

German Twp. police assisted with a unique incident Friday morning: bald eagles that found themselves stuck in a frozen Clark County field.

A German Twp. Police Department officer was responding to a deer and vehicle collision near Fox Hollow Road early Friday morning when a person flagged him down as he was filling out paperwork, German Twp. Police Chief Mike Stitzel said.

A nearby field had flooded from Thursday’s record rain that froze overnight after temperatures fell rapidly. The eagles, three at one time, appeared to have fallen in to a flooded patch.

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One eagle was able to quickly escape, but the other two appeared to be struggling with each other, Stitzel said. He and other officers began making noises to try to get the birds’ attention, and the eagles eventually were freed from the water.

Stitzel said his department contacted the Glen Helen Raptor Center, which advised that the eagles — although cold and exhausted — likely were not injured due to the icy scuttle.

Bald eagles are resilient birds, said Brian Plasters, Ohio Division of Wildlife communication manager.

“They’re incredibly tough,” he said. “Stronger than you think. If they could fly away, they’ll be OK.”

Clark County is a known home to several eagle families, with five nests recorded in the county during the Division of Wildlife’s 2020 eagle nest survey.

The eagle population has seen improvement in Southern Ohio over the years, which Plasters said is for a variety of factors including an abundance of water sources, big trees for nesting and prey.

Although the eagles could have broken through the thin ice during a territorial dispute, it’s hard to say for certain what happened. Plasters said the eagles could have spotted a potential food source in the waters. This time of the year also is a time where many bald eagles mate and begin nesting, he said.

Stitzel said he was happy to see the eagles escape unscathed.

“The bird is such an amazing creature,” he said. “And they carry so much symbolism.”

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