Toiyabe Indian Health Project, Bridgeport Indian Colony save bald eagle |

Toiyabe Indian Health Project, Bridgeport Indian Colony save bald eagle

By Neva C. Baker | Special to First Nation's Focus
This bald eagle was rescued.
Photo: Neva C. Baker

Editor's note: 

This story was first published in the April 2017 edition of First Nation’s Focus.

WALKER, Calif. — On March 1, the clinic manager from Toiyabe Indian Health Project, Jeanette Colon, was traveling southbound when she spotted a bald eagle on the side of the road on Eastside lane in Walker, Calif.

Jeanette then asked a few employees if they would be willing to go see if they could help in any way as she noticed that it appeared to be injured.

Without hesitation Neva Baker, Gabby Balcunas, Alex Burciaga and two employees from Bridgeport Indian Colony — Steven Dondero and Christian Lent — were able to assist in helping with a possible rescue.

As soon as the team approached it was clear that this animal was in some distress. From his knowledge from being a hobby birder Burciaga was able to determine that this bird was an adult eagle.

As soon as she was able, Balcunas was on the phone to find out where this creature could be taken to for care. While she was on the phone Dondero calmly corralled the eagle to a fence line as the bird couldn’t fly because of the injury to it’s right wing and leg.

Lent then came in from behind the animal to secure it in one spot. Just then Dondero was able to put his jacket over the animal.

The eagle was on its back and was in discomfort and distress from the situation. Dondero and Lent were able to calm the bird down.

As the bird was being comforted, Balcunas was able to contanct Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care in Bishop, Calif. She spoke with Cindy Kamler, who was able to provide directions to ensure the bald eagle was safe and in stable condition.

Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care decided to meet the team halfway and pick up the injured eagle.

After getting a game plan, Neva Baker was able to find a large box at her home that would suffice for the delivery of the bird to Wildlife Care employees.

The bird was secured in the large box and taken to Lee Vining by Dondero and Carla Denver where they met the wildlife team and handed them the bald eagle.

The wildlife team said they would rehab the bird and when possible release it in the Walker\Coleville. After the initial assessment of the bird it was then moved to Ojai, Calif., where the raptor center will rehabilitate the bald eagle the best way possible.

Neva C. Baker is a member of the Toiyabe Indian Health Project. Visit to learn more.


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