WITTMAN — Marvin McCumbers Jr. of McDaniel and his dad Marvin of Federalsburg did not catch many fish during an early morning fishing trip, but instead helped save the life of an injured bald eagle.
Both saw a bird dive into the Chesapeake Bay, but did not pay any attention to it until it began to splash.
“It looked like it was really struggling,” Marvin McCumbers Sr. said, “It was trying to swim to shore. That’s when we knew it was hurt. It wasn’t ‘til it came closer we could see what kind of bird it was.”
The large bald eagle swam for nearly an hour before reaching a small beach off Bay Shore Road. The McCumbers said they began calling rescue agencies when they knew the eagle was hurt including the Natural Resources Police before reaching the Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research.
“We couldn’t get any help from anyone else besides Tri-State Rescue and their closest volunteer was in Newark, Del.,” McCumbers Jr. said. “With this heat, that eagle could have died before they made it here. I couldn’t let that happen so I said I would take the eagle to them.”
While waiting for someone to help, the McCumbers made sure the bird had water to drink and fish to eat.
“He really seemed grateful for the fish. I knew that swim took a lot out of him, but we couldn’t help him until he made it to land,” McCumbers Jr. said.
The two men talked to the eagle while gently trying to wrap it in a large white blanket, making sure not to cause more injury to its right wing and leg. The eagle seemed nervous and tried to scamper away from the two men, but after a few minutes the eagle calmed, allowing the McCumbers to carry the bird to be placed in a large box.
“This is sickening, it is a bald eagle. Everyone should have come to help. We want everyone to start caring. We care,” McCumbers Sr. said as they carefully positioned the box in the back of his son’s SUV.
McCumbers Jr. met a volunteer from the center near Price to deliver the eagle. While talking to the volunteer about the eagle’s injuries, he asked if he could become a volunteer to transport injured or sick birds.
“We need more folks from the Bay Hundred area to become a volunteer. A two-hour wait is just too long for a response for a bird on a hot day like today.” he said.
The McCumbers are waiting to hear from Tri-Sate Bird Rescue and Research to hear how the eagle is recovering.
For more information about Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, visit www.tristatebird.org. If an injured or ill wild bird is located, call 302-737-9543.