District Shops Employee Saves Eagle

Bird of prey sightings are common in the Denver metro area, where bald eagles roost in our parks and greenways for the winter, and where a hawk once took up residence in a Thornton Costco. But District Shops parts clerk Ethan Daigle got more than a sighting a few weeks ago when a routine parts run turned into a dramatic raptor rescue.

Ethan was on his way to pick up a set of tires when he noticed a vehicle stopped in the oncoming lane of Ringsby Court, next to the Platte River.

“I started to slow down,” he remembered, “and as I came up, I saw that, wow, it’s an eagle.”

Ethan got out of his truck, gently shooed the bird to the side of the road and resumed his errand. On his return, he saw a woman directing traffic around the same spot, and realized that the eagle was still there.

Ethan stopped again and asked the woman if help was on the way. She had called Birds of Prey, a wild bird rehabilitation organization, 45 minutes prior, but no one had arrived yet. Knowing he had to do something to help, Ethan drove back to District Shops and delivered the part he’d picked up. Then he clocked out for his lunch, grabbed some gloves and a net, and drove back to help the injured bird.

“I approached him slowly, draped the net over him real quick so he wouldn’t try to take off, scooped him up, and held him
in my arms with his legs together like you would a chicken.”

The eagle didn’t try to fight, which made Ethan worry it had been poisoned. But with no way to know, Ethan simply draped
a napkin over the eagle’s eyes to keep it calm and took it to the side of the road so traffic could proceed.

Surprised, the woman who had been directing traffic around the bird asked Ethan if he was with Birds of Prey, to which Ethan replied, “No, I’m with RTD!”

Thanks to Ethan’s quick thinking and kind heart, the eagle remained safe and calm until rescuers from Birds of Prey arrived. Ethan called the organization a few days later and learned that the eagle had suffered a bruised wing and shoulder but no breakage. Birds of Prey will hold the eagle in its treatment facility for a few weeks and then move it to an aviary, where it can rebuild its strength before returning to the wild.

This is not the first time Ethan had staged such a rescue. As a Marine stationed in Japan, he cared for an injured hawk for two days until Japanese wildlife authorities could pick the animal up. And eagles have a special significance for Ethan, who is studying history and anthropology at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

“My family crest is an eagle, and my last name means ‘of the eagle’ in French,” he said. “I’ve just got a soft spot for raptors.”