Early Thursday evening, two bald eagles dropped out of the sky and onto an Orlando storm drain, with one bird covering the other with its outspread wings.
The event immediately captured the attention of social media, which at first interpreted the scene as one eagle protecting another, injured eagle.
But experts believe the two eagles began fighting in the air when one flew into the other’s territory, Dianna Flynt, rehabilitation supervisor at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey told a local news station, WKMG News 6. The birds likely became attached to each other during their fight, causing them to fall into the drain.
After about an hour the bird on top managed to fly away, as the other bird, believed to be a 5-year-old female, fell farther inside the drain.
A crowd of onlookers cheered as a rescue team reached into the sewer to pull the second bird out at about 6:20 p.m., 90 minutes after it initially fell into the drain. Covering the bird in a blanket, rescuers placed it in a box to take it to a sanctuary to be treated.
The bird suffered puncture wounds on its body, leg and chest, as well as a cracked beak, and was expected to require up to six weeks of recovery before being released back into the wild, local ABC station WFTV 9 reported.
As images of the bird spread on social media, tweets quickly appeared calling the moment ironic and metaphorical.
On the other end of the spectrum, at least one Twitter user saw the rescue effort as a hopeful symbol:
Others saw the scene for what it was, just a pair of unfortunate eagles in a storm drain.
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