Huge golden eagle gets wedged in engine compartment of box truck

It appears to have suffered only minor injuries

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A massive golden eagle is spending the weekend at a wildlife rehabilitation facility in southwestern Oregon and appeared to be in fine health after colliding with a box truck and getting stuck.

The eagle, an adult female weighing 7.8 pounds, arrived Thursday at Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center, a nonprofit facility near Grants Pass, after being delivered by a trooper with the Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division.

Trooper Ryan Gosse reported that workers from a window and door company were driving a company truck down a busy road in Medford, Ore., when they briefly spotted the approaching eagle just before hearing a loud thud from the box directly behind the cab. When they reached their destination, they looked in the engine compartment, where they found the frightened bird wedged between the box and the engine, unable to free itself and bleeding from its mouth.

They called Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife for help. Gosse was able to remove it by carefully folding and holding both wings while another person moved the engine hoses and other lines out of the bird’s powerful talons. It took three animal care personnel to remove her from the crate back at Wildlife Images and help examine her.

Golden eagles are slightly smaller than bald eagles but similar in weight, with wingspans of between 5 and 7.5 feet and measuring around 3 feet in length. They have incredibly strong talons, able to exert hundreds of pounds of pressure per square inch and enough to crush a human forearm, according to the rehab center. They also have razor-sharp talons.

Staff at the clinic were able to determine that the eagle suffered no apparent wing injuries, was determined to be at a healthy weight and had no signs of head trauma. The only visible injury was a small tear where the skin attaches to the beak. Clinic veterinarians treated that, gave her an X-ray to rule out any fractures and kept her overnight in an ICU to watch for signs of head trauma.

As of Friday afternoon, the bird had been moved to an outdoor enclosure where it had become “super active,” said Erin Maxson, a spokeswoman for the facility. Clinic officials planned to test out flying her later the same day.

“If that goes good, she’ll be a candidate for release early next week,” Maxson said.

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