Man tells story of golden eagle's rescue

Posted at: 03/06/2013 1:56 PM
Updated at: 03/06/2013 5:35 PM
By: staff

Photo from Dennis Miller
Photo from Dennis Miller

In his own words,  Dennis Miller of the Gila Wildlife Rescue in Silver City writes to KOB about how he came to rescue a wounded golden eagle:

"I am Dennis Miller and my wife Denise and I run Gila Wildlife Rescue in Silver City for the past 34 years.

We are permitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the New Mexico Game and Fish Department to care for all wildlife.

We specialize in raptors and mammals and care for between 100 and 300 animals a year with a 75% success rate (some die, some have to be euthanized).

On Thursday, Feb. 28th we received a call from a man who saw an eagle get hit by a car on US Hwy 180 near Hurley, NM and he had picked it up to save it.

We met at Walmart in Silver City and transferred the bird to us. She seemed to be in shock but did not have obvious major injuries. We typically leave the bird in a quiet place for a few hours before examining.

In the meantime we received another call from a friend of ours who asked if there were vultures in our area this time of the year.

When I said no she got very upset because she said she realized she hit an eagle. I realized it was the same eagle we just received so I assured her that it was not seriously injured.

This shocked her even more because she said not only did she accidentally hit it going 65mph (cruise control was set) but that it shattered her windshield.

The next morning we went and looked at the car and we were very very shocked.

The windshield was totally shattered and pushed in about 6". Upon examining the bird more closely we discovered that it had no broken bones (typically wings, legs, sternum, or pelvis will be broken...and severely) and no concussion, and no lacerations.

In fact the bird did not even have a broken feather! We are not saying that it had NO injury because it had to have bruising, soreness, shock, etc. but it really was not seriously injured whatsoever.

I am not sure how it happened but for a bird this size (one of the largest golden eagles we have ever cared for and have cared for between 75 and 100 - this one has a 7' wingspan) to have no major injury, especially no concussion, was almost miraculous.

The bird is going to be in our care for a month or so to make sure it is well enough to survive in the wild once released and we will not be releasing it anywhere near a highway!"