Couple Rescues Pair of Bald Eagles After Tangled ‘Death Spiral’ Into Maine River

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A couple who witnessed a pair of bald eagles plunge into a Maine river, tangled in what they later called a “death spiral,” cruised out onto the water, saving the birds’ lives.

Originally from Washington, former sales director Lynne Thompson, 59, lives in Raymond, Maine, with 63-year-old former furniture company owner Scott Crockett.

Both currently retired, Lynn and Scott have a cottage on the New Meadows River.

On one September day, as the couple were looking out over the water, two bald eagles flew overhead and became tangled in the air. They spiraled downward, making 10 to 12 circles before plunging into the water as one.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Lynne Thompson)

“We got our binoculars and started looking at them, and they weren’t moving, so I said to Scott, ‘We’ve got to go ahead and see what’s going on. Maybe they’re hurt,’” Lynne told The Epoch Times. “We’ve got a little 17-foot skiff and took a ride out there, 200 or 300 yards.”

Lynne then grabbed her camera, hoping to get some shots of the eagles.

As they approached the eagles, the couple noticed that they were tangled and bobbing on the water, stunned and tired. One bird’s talons had been caught in the other’s wings.

Having once seen an eagle drown a crow, Lynne wondered whether one eagle was trying to drown the other.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Lynne Thompson)

“They weren’t skittish at all, they were just staring at us. One hissed a little bit,” Lynne said. “There wasn’t really emotion coming from them, they were very stoic.”

The couple were respectful and didn’t touch the eagles. However, since the birds were tangled, Lynne and Scott knew they had to get them apart.

Scott gently nudged the pair of eagles with a pole from a short distance. They separated and began to swim, one making it to shore before the other.

Lynne said: “I’ve never seen an eagle swim before. The stronger one reached the shore, got up on the rocks, and flapped his wings to get the water off … then flew away. He went up one of his favorite trees.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Lynne Thompson)

As the couple looked back at the other eagle, they found it still in the middle of the water, catching up slowly.

“We went back and he was really, really tired, so we followed him in, he got up on the rock, and then we drove away,” Lynne said. “We figured we’re letting nature take its course at that point.”

The following morning, Lynne and Scott returned to the river but couldn’t spot either of the eagles.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Lynne Thompson)

During their close encounter, Lynne took some incredible shots of the eagles and shared them on her private Facebook page. At her followers’ insistence, she also shared the photos with Maine Wildlife, where they garnered the attention of thousands.

“I should turn off the notifications, but it’s kind of cool!” said Lynne, who was interviewed by a local Maine news station with Scott the day after the rescue.

Scott told News Center Maine: “When the two had done the spiral and crashed into the water, we watched them for a while, and then maybe five minutes later, another eagle came out that was an immature. It circled around them to check them out, like, ‘You guys alright?’ … that was cool that another immature saw it happen and was concerned.”

A couple of seals also made an appearance, watching the eagles as they paddled to the shore.

“I wonder what they were thinking,” Scott said.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Lynne Thompson)

Lynne, a longtime nature lover who gifted herself a camera to enjoy during her retirement, plans to enter her photos into a competition with New England’s Downey magazine.

She also has fresh insight into the bald eagles’ tangled tumble.

“What we discovered is the ‘death spiral,’” she told The Epoch Times. “Based on everything I’ve learned from the 8,000 people who have commented, it was territorial. Typically, one of them breaks off, but they didn’t break off; if they had landed on the ground, they would have died, but they landed on the water.”

Lynne feels lucky to have had this experience in her own backyard, and for being able to save the birds.

She said: “I have an actual picture, so it will always be with me, versus just my memory, which will fade as I get older … I was able to capture it on film, which I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Lynne Thompson)

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