A truck driver in Washington state held an injured eagle in his arms while waiting for assistance to transport the bird. His rig had collided with the bird minutes earlier. The police who responded to the incident also shared a photo of the event.
Since it went viral, many people have been praising the man's patriotism and compassion. The photo is certainly a powerful symbol of the impact humans can have on wildlife and Mashable called the act "what any American would do." However, we'd like to take this example of a passionate steward as an opportunity to educate future stewards.
While we appreciate this man's commitment to saving this bird, VINS wants to make sure everyone understands the risks and proper way to handle an injured bird.
Raptors have extremely strong feet. An Eagle's grip can exert upwards of 500 pounds per square inch. Add super sharp talons to that grip and Bald Eagles can do some serious damage. Do not approach an injured raptor (hawks, eagles, falcons, owls) without taking the proper steps to protect yourself.
An injured wild bird should be afraid of you and may act to protect itself. Your best bet is to call a professional right away and follow their instructions or wait for their help. If you must act on your own use a heavy blanket to scoop up the bird and place it in a contained area- like a dog crate. Transport the bird to a wildlife rehabilitation organization as soon as you can. Wear heavy gloves and jacket or any other protective material you have.
Remember that every moment that you're handling the bird is very stressful for the animal. It can cause their recovery to be more difficult and longer. Please minimize your contact.
Look up your local rehabilitation facility's number and add it to your phone or put the number in your car so that you can call as soon as you encounter an injured animal!
This individual was transported to a local rehabilitation facility and did not recover from it's injuries, as reported in the story above.
The phone number for VINS Wildlife Emergency Hotline is 802-359-5000 x510
If you get our voicemail please leave a message. Our rehabilitation staff check the messages in between providing care for patients and will return your call as soon as they can!