Ontario brothers capture incredible photo after bravely rescuing bald eagle

Bald eagle and brothers

Two brothers from Sudbury, Ontario managed to snap what we’re dubbing “Selfie of the Year.”

But it wasn’t with a celebrity or atop a picturesque mountain just as the sun was starting to set—it was with a bald eagle, right after the pair managed to rescue the bird from a hunting trap.

According to CBC News, brothers Neil and Michael Fletcher were hiking through the woods when they found the eagle with its foot stuck in a hunting trap. A group of ravens circling nearby signalled that something was up, and when the men got closer to the site, they discovered the distinct white-headed bird.

“It was relieving to see that it was still alive,” Neil told CBC News. “I knew we had to do something right away.”

The two brothers moved toward the eagle slowly before draping a sweater over its head in attempt to calm the bird, who appeared a little nervous at first. Once it recognized the two were trying to help, it calmed down, only moving its head from side to side.

It took the brothers a few minutes to free the bird, but they couldn’t release it right away. Knowing this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, they decided to snap a quick picture with the bald eagle before letting it go.

“The bird had its mouth open, but he never tried to fly or bite or do anything,” Neil said. “It made it pretty easy [for us to] take a picture with it.”

Posted by Michael Fletcher on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

And while they did manage to get a pretty unbelievable shot with the bird, it was the brothers’ rescue efforts that are being praised by a local bird expert.

“I think it’s really great that Michael and Neil had the gumption to actually try and deal with the bird, because it’s quite a large predatory bird with sharp claws and a sharp beak,” Chris Blomme, a member of the Sudbury Ornithological Society, told CBC. Weighing up to 7kg with a wingspan of more than two metres, the bald eagle is actually Canada’s largest bird of prey.

According to The Sudbury Star, the two contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, who also applauded their efforts.

Photographic proof or not, this is an experience that Neil says he and his brother will never forget: “We were just really amazed—and still are.”