In a coastal marsh in Poland, a wildlife photographer dragged himself through deep mud to save an eagle. The entire event was documented in a video that includes some stunning drone footage.
According to European media, photographer Krzysztof Chomicz performed the daring rescue in Swinoujscie with the assistance of local firemen. Chomicz returned the terrified bird, a white-tailed eagle, to dry land, despite being clawed in his arms and legs.
Chomicz grabbed to a rope attached to the land in order to prevent becoming drowned in the mud.
The eagle was treated by animal rehabilitators before being transferred to a sanctuary in Szczecin, according to local news. The eagle was given the name Icarus after the Greek hero Icarus, who soared perilously close to the sun on wax and feathered wings. When the bird fell into the mud, the crew believed it was around six months old and beginning to fly.
The white-tailed, or sea, eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is the biggest bird of prey in northern Europe. Pollution and habitat loss nearly drove it extinct, but it began to recover in the 1980s, especially when DDT and PCBs were outlawed.
In Europe today, there are estimated to be around 25,000 adult white-tailed eagles. However, this hasn’t been good news for certain of their prey, such as eiders and other fragile species. The predatory eagles, with their eight-foot (2.4-meter) wingspans, require around a pound (0.5 kilogram) of food every day.
The white-tailed eagle, the largest bird of prey in northern Europe, is reportedly recovering well.