Northeastern Nevada Wildlife Rehabilitation Center/Lance Dean/AP

Golden Eagle Crashes Through Big Rig Windshield

March 05, 2009 11:15 AM
by Emily Coakley
An eagle survived flying headfirst through a tractor-trailer windshield in Nevada; the collision recalls an incident from last year in which several eagles weren’t as lucky.

“One Ticked Off Bird”

A Florida man was driving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 80 in Nevada Wednesday when a golden eagle crashed through his truck’s windshield. The bird, which weighs 15 pounds and has a seven-foot wingspan, appears unhurt, other than a swollen head, The Associated Press reports.

A co-driver who was sleeping at the time of the crash described his experience to AP: “I woke up, and the windshield was all over me. Next thing I know there was a big bird lying on the floor.”

Last year, an encounter with a truck in Alaska proved much more deadly for a group of bald eagles. In January 2008, more than 50 eagles landed on a truck full of fish waste that was outside a processing plant. The truck was uncovered, and as the eagles fed on the fish guts they got too dirty to fly or even clean themselves.

“Some birds became so weak they sank into the fish slime and were crushed,” according to the AP. To help the birds, the truck’s contents were dumped on the processing plant floor.
The incident killed 22 birds, and another 30 were injured. Ocean Beauty Seafoods LLC, the company that owned the processing plant, donated $5,000 to the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage to help defray the cost of caring for the injured birds, Fishupdate.com reported a few days after the incident.

In Nevada, the eagle was still conscious after its accident.

“The guys in the truck immediately bailed out because it was one ticked off bird. She was pretty feisty,” said Nevada Department of Wildlife Spokesman Joe Doucette, who added that a wildlife biologist had to retrieve the bird from the truck because, “even the officer who responded didn’t want to go in there.”

Background: Eagle as the nation’s symbol

The bald eagle was on the endangered species list from 1967 until 2007, when federal wildlife officials declared it saved. The country has more than 10,000 nesting pairs of birds, up from a low of 417 pairs in 1963, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

It has appeared in the Great Seal of the United States since 1782, and officially became the nation’s bird in 1789.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines