Injured golden eagle found and captured on Highway 91; taken for rehabilitation

WASHINGTON COUNTY — An injured juvenile golden eagle was found by a passing motorist on Old Highway 91 around mile marker 13 Thursday afternoon. A Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologist caught the injured raptor and transported it to be rehabilitated.

An injured juvenile golden eagle was found on Old Highway 91 near mile marker 13. A biologist from the Division of Wildlife Resources captured the bird and took it for rehabilitation, Shivwits Reservation, Utah, June 23, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
An injured juvenile golden eagle was found on Old Highway 91 near mile marker 13. A biologist from the Division of Wildlife Resources captured the bird and took it for rehabilitation, Shivwits Reservation, Utah, June 23, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

“Today we had a young golden eagle — someone found it in the middle of the road,” Christian Edwards, biologist for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said. “It looked like it had been injured, we don’t know how it got injured. Its left wing was injured.”

Two Washington County Sheriff’s deputies arrived before Edwards and guided the stricken bird off the highway, where it took shelter beneath a rock face.

Edwards arrived, armed with leather gloves, a large net and a plastic tub. He captured the bird with the net and with the assistance of the deputies, placed the struggling eagle in the tub. Edwards used copious amounts of duct tape to seal the tub, due to the animal’s great strength.

A local falconer licensed to care for raptors would be taking care of the eagle. Edwards said the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve would assist in its rehabilitation.

An injured juvenile golden eagle was found on Old Highway 91 near mile marker 13. A biologist from the Division of Wildlife Resources captured the bird and took it for rehabilitation, Shivwits Reservation, Utah, June 23, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
An injured juvenile golden eagle was found on Old Highway 91 near mile marker 13. A biologist from the Division of Wildlife Resources captured the bird and took it for rehabilitation, Shivwits Reservation, Utah, June 23, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

While calls for injured wildlife come to the Division of Wildlife Resources regularly, Edwards said it is less common to field calls about injured eagles.

“Urban wildlife calls come almost daily,” he said. “But on something like a cool bird like this, a big bird, maybe just every month or so. This time of year there’s younger birds starting to come out.”

The person who made the call about the eagle did the right thing, Edwards said. If an injured bird, especially a raptor, is found, the best bet is to call 911 or call the Division of Wildlife Resources.

“Definitely don’t handle them, those things can be dangerous,  those big talons,” he said. “Best thing to do if you can get them off the road for public safety, that’s great. If not, you definitely want to call someone who’s trained, who can handle it better.”

According to National Geographic, golden eagles are the largest bird of prey in North America. They range from 33 – 38 inches in height and have a wingspan that can vary from 6 – 7 1/2 feet. They weigh anywhere from 6 to 15 pounds. In the wild, they can live up to 30 years. Once hunted by ranchers who thought they were killing their livestock, golden eagles are now under federal protection.

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Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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