By Kerry Evans-Spillman, Land Line staff
Almost every trucker has been involved with an avian suicide at some point. It's an unfortunate thing, but there's really nothing a driver can do to avoid it or to save the bird after the fact.
Earlier this year OOIDA Member Ben Wright of Olive Branch, MS, found himself in that unavoidable situation while passing through Bear Lake, ID.
He had just left Montpelier, ID, and was heading down Highway 30 toward Bear Lake when he saw something coming at him out of the corner of his eye. Instinctively, he held his arm up as he heard his windshield shatter followed by screaming. He was able to pull over quickly and, after a bit of a struggle with his seat belt, get out of the truck.
He took a moment to compose himself and then looked inside cab, surprised to be nose to beak with one very angry, very alive bald eagle trapped in the broken windshield.
A passer-by in a pickup stopped to help Ben free the bird. It stood on the hood of the truck for a moment, then hopped toward a field. They called the sheriff who contacted the Idaho Fish and Game office. The eagle, a young female, was taken to the Teton Raptor Center near Jackson Hole, WY.
They named her "Wiegle" (short for "Window Eagle") and spent the next several weeks helping her recover from her injuries, which amazingly did not include any broken bones.
Ben was not injured but assumed the eagle had died. He was thrilled to get a call from the raptor center advising him that Wiegle had been evaluated and released back into the wild.
He now enjoys sharing his story with disbelieving drivers at the truck stop. Unlike many tales from the road, Ben can gladly show you photos proving it really happened.LL