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Raptor Center workers find old bullet inside injured bald eagle

By Jeff Wagner

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    PLYMOUTH, Minnesota (WCCO) — A majestic bird normally seen soaring the skies got caught up in speeding traffic.

A bald eagle was hit by a car on Highway 101 in Plymouth Wednesday. Erin Moser’s amazement over what she saw is understandable.

“At first I was like, ‘Wow, this must have been a really bad accident, there’s like stuff on the road.’ And then all of a sudden like. ‘This is an eagle!’ I mean, it’s like sitting there, huge,” Moser said. “But then at the same time you’re like I really don’t want to be seeing this because it seems really sad.”

The bald eagle is now at the Raptor Center in St. Paul. Amazingly, it didn’t suffer any broken bones, but its lungs were bruised and require oxygen to be pumped into its crate to help it breathe. Victoria Hall is the Raptor Center’s executive director.

“This specific eagle actually had an old bullet in it as well that had healed over. So this eagle had come into conflict with humans a couple times over its life thus far,” Hall said.

While it might be a surprise for drivers to see an eagle in the middle of the road, experts say it’s actually common. In fact, it happened in Plymouth last fall. Police body camera footage captured two eagles whose talons got tangled as they tussled over territory.

“We’ll see eagles all across Minnesota, and as populations get stronger, they’re moving into more urban or human areas,” she said. “They do like water sources, they like to fish, but they also scavenge.”

That includes feeding on roadkill, which is why this eagle was parked on the pavement.

“Hit by cars are pretty common traumas with these eagle,” she said.

Doctors expect the beautiful bird to make a full recovery — and will hopefully have a better understand of traffic safety.

The eagle is expected to recover in a couple of weeks. There are currently eight bald eagles at the Raptor Center getting treatment.

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