ORLANDO, Fla. – Two bald eagles were freed Thursday after being stuck in a drainage ditch in Orlando for several hours, according to Orange County Fire Rescue.
One bald eagle was able to fly away about an hour into the incident, but the second eagle was rescued an hour later by specialists from the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey.
Law enforcement worked to get the the eagles out from the ditch on Goldenrod and Curry Ford roads starting just before 5 p.m.
The birds were spotted with one bald eagle on top of the other with its wings spread.
Originally, there was speculation that the bird on top could be protecting its mate, but Diana Flynt from the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey said that couldn't be further from the truth.
She said it's currently eagle nesting season and she believes the eagles got into a fight when one bird got into the other bird's territory.
"What we have is a fight going on, and they fight unbelievably to the battle, but hopefully not to the death," Flynt said.
Flynt said the first task for officials would be to get the bird that was on top unattached from the other, but that bird flew away at 5:54 p.m. Prior to that, the eagle had hardly moved a feather during the hour-long incident.
The rescue mission caused traffic to back up along Goldenrod and Curry Ford during rush hour traffic. Law enforcement asked drivers to use Semoran Boulevard as an alternative route.
The American bald eagle is the national bird and animal of the U.S. and is a federally protected bird.