While most selfies this past Thanksgiving weekend were taken before a turkey feast, Canadian brothers Michael and Neil Fletcher struck a pose alongside a bald eagle (video below).
Natives to Chelmsford, Ontario, the two brothers were hunting for grouse in the neighboring wilds of Dowling on Nov. 24 when they happened upon a trapped bald eagle.
"We had just got into an open cut and my brother was, like, 'Oh, I just saw something,’” Michael tells The Sudbury Star. “Then we saw some movement, walked in a bit, and the bald eagle was stuck there in a trap.”
Only 70,000 Bald Eagles reside in North America. While they are known as Canada’s largest bird of prey, they have been the U.S. national bird symbol since 1782, WVCB 5 reports.
The eagle that the Fletcher brothers found had become victim to a fur harvester’s trap.
"It was attached to a stake and the eagle was trying to fly up, but it only had a foot of slack in the chain," Michael said.
"It was relieving to see that it was still alive," Neil tells CBC News. "I knew we had to do something right away.”
The Fletcher brothers, both experienced hunters, approached the bird cautiously, draping a sweater over its vision to calm its nerves.
“As soon as he realized we were trying to help he kind of calmed down a little bit. His head would kind of move back and forth to look at us, but that was the most he'd do," Neil tells CBC News.
Applying pressure to the trap’s release mechanism, the brothers were able to free the eagle’s foot. Before releasing it back into the wild, they decided to celebrate their heroism with a well-earned selfie.
"I knew this would never happen again, so before we let it go, I told my brother Michael, 'we should take a picture with it,’” Neil said. “The bird had its mouth open, but he never tried to fly or bite or do anything.”
"I think it's really great the Michael and Neil took the gumption to actually try and deal with the bird,” Sudbury Ornithological Society member Chris Blomme said. Whenever dealing with a bald eagle, he adds that “Covering them up over the head is a good way to blind the bird so you can approach it."
The Fletcher brothers shared their photo on Facebook, where it has reportedly been shared nearly 3,000 times.
"Me and my brother, we've always been in the bush, always been hunters,” Neil added. “And we've always had a lot of respect for bald eagles.”