One Labor Day weekend camping trip turned into a rescue mission, when three men stumbled upon a wounded bald eagle in New Market.
It was an eerie sight for the campers, as they saw the symbol of American freedom wounded. Something they will not forget for a long time, as many people never get the chance to see a bald eagle in the wild, let alone try to save one's life.
"Definitely a once in a lifetime experience," says Kyle Vines.
Vines and Weston Brown were looking forward to a relaxing Labor Day weekend, until they stumbled upon something unusual.
"He saw something run across the road, it looked hurt. He thought it was a turkey. We got out and went to go look. When I saw it was a bald eagle, I said guys we need to call help," says Vines.
Brown quickly picked up the phone and called a wildlife specialist.
"He asked me, he said is this an eagle or is it a bald eagle? I said it's a bald eagle, it's got a white head. You know it looks like she's been, she's been wounded you know," says Brown.
A bald eagle, symbol of American freedom, injured by a possible gunshot wound.
"Where she had been there was little pools of blood, she had definitely, definitely suffered a gunshot wound," says Brown.
The wildlife specialist said the men saved the eagle from dying alone in the woods.
"She was badly dehydrated, she was starting to develop blood poisoning, she had a bad infection, and had we waited until the next morning she would have probably been dead," explains Brown.
It turned into a rescue mission these men will never forget.
"It's something that you see on Discovery Channel or National Geographic, and not only are we seeing one in North Alabama you know, we're getting to be a part of its rescue... It just leaves you in awe," says Vines.
Unfortunately, WAAY 31 learned Wednesday morning that the bald eagle the campers found in New Market did not make it.
The executive director of Alabama Wildlife Center said it had been suffering an injury for a while when the men found it. The injury was consistent with a potential gunshot wound, but the X-ray didn't show any bullet fragments so they can't confirm for sure it was a gunshot.