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Eagle hit by a vehicle on US 460


MAGOFFIN – Deer hit on local roadways are not uncommon. Bears occasionally are seen. Hawks and buzzards are in the vicinity, but usually away from the roads. But when the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officer got the call last week of a bald eagle hit on a Magoffin roadway, he could hardly believe it.

Matt Carson, the Wolfe County officer for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, got the call on May 14 of a vehicle versus bald eagle. 

“I thought it would be a red-tailed hawk when I got there, but sure enough it was a bald eagle,” Carson said.

A dead opossum was in the road, which he believes it what lured the bald eagle to the roadway, leading it to be hit by a motorist on US 460 west in Magoffin County (between Salyersville and West Liberty). 

When fish and wildlife officers arrived at the scene, the eagle was alert, with a possible broken right wing, but no life-threatening injuries.

Carson and Barry McCoy, the Montgomery County officer for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, found a rescue for the animal, scheduling a pickup by Raptor Rehabilitation, but they couldn’t get the eagle until the next day. 

Carson said McCoy had a cage at his house he kept the bald eagle in for the night, but laughed, saying they really didn’t have the right gear for that particular call.

“We put a shirt over its head and tied it’s feet up, but it was a full-size adult,” Carson said. “I’ve heard they can exert 300 pounds per square inch of grip with their talons.”

While they were not injured rescuing the eagle, it did get a hold of McCoy’s pants, causing several rips and tears. 

“This was definitely the first call I’ve ever had for a bald eagle,” Carson said. “I never would have imagined someone would hit one with a vehicle.”

The eagle is now at Raptor Rehabilitation, in Louisville, and believed to be able to make a full recovery.


Heather Oney

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