Bald Eagle Hit By A Semi Released Back To The Wild 

It’s been a nerve-racking few weeks for folks who rescued a bald eagle that was struck by a semi on I-95 near Palmyra last month.Brad Allen, a bird group leader at the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department, says this particular eagle is one they’re familiar with. “This bird is just part of Maine’s amazing Eagle Recovery Program.”The bald eagle was first introduced to the folks from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife about five years ago, shortly after it hatched. Before it could even fly, identification bands were attached to its feet. Fast-forward to September 20. “The bird was on the side of the highway, probably flew up into a vehicle going by. I hear it was a semi,” Allen said. “It zigged when it should have zagged and ended up entangled in the rear view mirror.”That’s when Carolyn Richens of Pittsfield, a volunteer for Avian Haven, a bird rehabilitation center in Freedom, got called to the scene. “I just saw legs dangling down and the first thing I said to the tractor trailer man, James, I said, ‘The bird is dead.’ He said ‘Oh no, it’s blinking.’ That’s when my husband, Steve, noticed the band,” Richens said.Neither of them could tell how badly the eagle was hurt. “Our first priority was to get her, because her neck was dangling on the mirror, so we wanted to make sure we could immediately get her off of that. Put her in a box and bring her to Avian Haven.”The staff at Avian Haven, including Marc Payne, took over from there. “We were able to get an X-ray and we found no broken bones,” Payne said. “It did have some blood clots in the eyes. You can imagine, being on the wrong end of a tractor trailer. Bird was lucky to be alive, basically.”After two weeks of care, the eagle was good as new and ready to be released. “It makes you feel great,” Payne said. “It’s also good to get him off the payroll. It takes a lot to feed and take care of some of these birds.”For all those involved in rescuing the bald eagle, the moment it was released back to the wild is one they won’t soon forget. “My heart literally raced when I saw it take flight,” Richens said. “The excitement, it literally took my breath away. Especially seeing that white head gleam, just going up into that blue sky. She’s okay and she’s free.”