(Stevensville, MI) - A LaPorte area man has caught hundreds of animals like squirrels, raccoons and groundhogs.
Professional trapper Mark O’Donnell has just added a bald eagle to his list.
His efforts quite possibly saved the life of the injured bald eagle turned over to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
“I’ve handled large birds before but nothing that large or that powerful,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell said he was heading to Benton Harbor, Michigan on Saturday after trapping a squirrel trying to get into the attic of a home.
The owner of Michiana Wildlife Trapping, LLC outside LaPorte saw two police vehicles with overhead lights flashing and the eagle in the median of Interstate 94 near Stevensville.
The nearest conservation officer was at least 90 minutes from getting there and given his qualifications was asked to help.
O’Donnell said the eagle appeared dazed and confused possibly from being hit by a vehicle while swooping down for some food.
The bird started lashing out as soon as he tried restraining it.
“The eagle’s feet were the size of my hands and each one of its claws was like four inches long,” he said.
O’Donnell using a catch pole fed a 12-inch loop around the midsection of the eagle and tightened it to keep its wings from flapping.
He fastened its legs together with zip ties and placed a sweater over the eagle’s head to calm it down.
O’Donnell placed the bird into the back end of a police vehicle for transport to a MDNR conservation officer, according to Lincoln Township Police,
“That bird had some power. It was every bit as strong as me,” he said.
O’Donnell didn’t know the extent of the bird’s injuries but said its left eye seemed badly damaged.
“He didn’t have any broken bones that I could tell,” he said.
O’Donnell helped raise various livestock while growing up on a farm north of LaPorte and started trapping animals damaging homes as a licensed professional in 2018.
“I felt God put that eagle in my path to see what I would do,” he said.