When Police Saw This Bald Eagle Blocking The Road, They Didn’t Realize The Poor Bird’s Plight

When a group of Clearwater, Florida, cops attended a scene at a busy road next to a shopping mall on October 5, 2016, it was clear that one of America’s icons needed assistance. Why? Because there in the road, a bald eagle was sitting completely still as vehicles detoured around the helpless creature.

What had started as perhaps just an ordinary for officers from Clearwater Police and Fire Department soon turned heroic – and patriotic. The striking bird of prey in the middle of the road was causing panic near the Westfield Countryside Mall. And someone needed to step up.

As the officers arrived on the busy Countryside Boulevard, it became clear that the bird was unable to fly away. Stuck in the middle of a hectic main road, the eagle had obviously already had one run-in with a passing car.

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According to witnesses, the bald eagle had in fact ventured into the traffic to feast on some roadkill. However, evidently the raptor hadn’t considered the idea that she, too, might become one with the road.

In any case, to keep the bird from getting clipped by a car again, the police closed two lanes of traffic and then coaxed her to the grassy verge along the side of the road. Then, wildlife experts from Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife came to retrieve the eagle and transport her to safety.

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“Clearwater Police and Clearwater Fire & Rescue were on scene this morning on Countryside Boulevard near the mall after an eagle was injured and sitting in the middle of the road,” the Clearwater Police Department wrote on its Facebook page.

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“It appears that it was hit by a car while trying to feed off a dead animal in the northbound lanes,” the post continued. “Police officers and firefighters teamed up with a wildlife rescue specialist to corral the eagle and it was taken away for treatment.”

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As for the Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife, it is based in Odessa, Florida, and has been helping animals for more than four decades. After taking the bald eagle in, then, the charity rushed the helpless bird to a vet to determine the extent of her injuries.

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Certainly, the eagle had experienced some car trouble – which had caused a chip to one of her right wing bones. And although the talented team of vets were able to fix the bird’s wing, she had been “very lucky” to survive, according to Kris Porter of Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife.

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Of course, humans endangering and then working to save the eagle epitomizes our longer history with the species as well. Bald eagles are native to North America, and the bird has been the national emblem of the United States for almost 250 years. However, the majestic creature almost became extinct in the middle of the 20th century.

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During the 1950s, the population of nesting bald eagle pairs dwindled to just 450. This was due to the use of the harmful pesticide DDT, which poisoned the birds’ food supply and caused their eggs to have unnaturally thin shells. Only decades later were bald eagles protected under the Endangered Species Act.

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It is therefore very good news that the Clearwater bald eagle looks like she has a bright future ahead of her. Indeed, after undergoing surgery to remove the chip on her shoulder, the bird is expected to make a complete recovery.

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“The prognosis according to the Veterinarians is very good for this beautiful bald eagle,” Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife wrote online following the rescue. “We are hoping for a speedy recovery and a quick release back into the wild.”

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Now to help pay for the bald eagle’s rehabilitation and raise funds for the rest of the animals in its care, the sanctuary is selling a number of photographic prints of the noble creature. Shot by wildlife photographer Douglas Felice, the amazing images document the bird’s recovery.

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And what a recovery. Two days after her rescue, the eagle was “doing awesome,” the sanctuary updated fans on Facebook. “Looks great [and she] even ate today,” it added. Naturally, too, the animal’s rescue has attracted a lot of supportive comments on the social media site.

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“So very happy this beautiful bird, our symbol of America, was able to be operated on and will do well,” gushed one commenter. “She was very lucky, and we are all very lucky to have the Owl’s Nest to be able to do what they do.”

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“She’s a pretty girl and so lucky! Keep up the good work,” another added. “So glad that she is going to be okay! I knew that she was in good hands when the news story said that you were the one picking her up,” wrote a third.

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Hopefully, it won’t be long before the bird is returned to the wild, where she can help keep the bald eagle population going. And, extraordinarily, bald eagles mate for life. So there’s a good chance that this lucky avian lady has a male waiting for her to come home.

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As for the species in general, the future also looks bright. In 1995 bald eagles were recategorized as threatened, while in 2007 they were removed from the endangered species list completely.

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Moreover, although bald eagles are no longer considered to be at risk of extinction, there are still a number of laws in place to protect them by making it illegal to harm or kill one. So, thanks to these laws and the good work of charities like the Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife, it seems likely that America’s icon will be around for generations to come.

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