A truck driver stopped at the U.S. Forest Service office in Lincoln on Thursday to report an eagle he had accidentally struck on Highway 200.
Pat Shanley, wildlife biologist and Beach Hastings, minerals administrator, both with the Lincoln Ranger District, were able to locate and captured the immature bald eagle and got it safely transported and handed off to personnel from the Wild Skies Raptor Center in Potomac, a nonprofit raptor rehabilitation and education center, in hopes it can be saved.
“The bird was still strong and ready to tangle but does at a minimum have a broken wing,” said Shanley. “It typically takes four or five years for bald eagles to get their adult plumage with the white head and tail.”
According to Shanley, the Blackfoot Canyon unfortunately contributes to quite a few bald and golden eagle mortalities due to the number of deer that get hit along this section of the road, particularly in the windier portions of the canyon where there is a shorter sight distance. He cautioned drivers to slow down while traveling if they see a raptor to give the birds more time to react.
“The eagles tend to gorge themselves to the point their crop is so laden with meat that they can’t lift off easily. Often when they try it is right into the path of oncoming vehicles,” he said.
Shanley later confirmed with the rehabilitation center that the eagle has a broken humerus bone in her left wing and will likely require surgery, yet remained very feisty.
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