From Stafford Sheriff’s Department
An injured bald eagle rescued by a Stafford County Animal Control Officer in May was released last week at Caledon State Park in King George County. It is the 12th bald eagle rescued by Anthony McCall in his ten years of service with the county.
McCall shows up to work every day ready for an adventure and never knows what the day will bring—from retrieving snakes hiding in kitchen cabinets to luring raccoons out of chimneys and conducting regular welfare checks on pets across the county. But the pinnacle of his job is bald eagle rescues.
On May 16, 2017 at approximately 4:00 p.m., McCall responded to a call regarding an injured bald eagle at the Rappahannock Regional Landfill on Eskimo Hill Road. When he arrived, McCall located the bird on the side of a steep ravine. He said the eagle was very weak and did not resist when McCall approached, wrapped the bird in a towel and carried it to his vehicle.
He dropped the bird off at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro and discovered the eagle had multiple wounds and lead poisoning, which he said is not uncommon in the birds he rescues. When McCall learned the eagle had recovered and been released back into its natural habitat, he was thrilled.
“Every once in a while you get a good call where you are saving someone or something—it is a beautiful thing,” McCall said. “It is especially amazing to save an eagle. You don’t get that close to one very often.”
McCall’s other eagle rescues were not as easy. Several years ago, McCall responded to his most difficult rescue after a family observed an injured eagle on their pier on the Potomac River. When McCall arrived, he saw the bird attempt to fly off the pier and land in the water. McCall waded into the river to retrieve the bird, but it resisted. It managed to make its way onto the riverbank and proceeded to run in and out of the water as McCall followed close behind.
The family who made the call watched as McCall finally caught the eagle. When he asked the young girl what to name it, she responded “Steve.” He later learned the bird was female, but the name stuck.
“That is what I go to work for,” McCall said. “There is not another job like it in the world.”