Eagle Crash Lands Into Semi Truck

By SCOTT SONNER
|  Thursday, Mar 5, 2009  |  Updated 1:45 AM CDT
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Pete Bradley, a biologist from the Nevada Dept. of Wildlife, holds an injured golden eagle. The 13-pound bird with a 7-foot wing span busted through the passenger side of a Florida truck driver's semi.

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RENO, Nev. – The eagle has landed — with a thud — after crashing through the windshield of a tractor-trailer on a Nevada highway. State wildlife officials said Wednesday that a 15-pound golden eagle with a 7-foot wing span has a swollen head but otherwise appears unhurt after crashing into a Florida truck driver's big rig on Monday.

Matthew Roberto Gonzalez of Opa Locka, Fla., was driving on U.S. Interstate 80 in northeast Nevada near Wells, about 60 miles west of the Utah line, when the eagle came crashing into the cab of his truck.

"I heard a loud thump like a brick or something coming through the glass," said Daryl Young of Miami, the co-driver who was dozing in the sleeper berth when it happened. "I woke up, and the windshield was all over me. Next thing I know there was a big bird lying on the floor."

Joe Doucette, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said it appears the eagle hit the windshield head first.

"One side of the head is swollen, but there does not appear to be any permanent damage," he said.

"The guys in the truck immediately bailed out because it was one ticked off bird. She was pretty feisty," Doucette said. "Even the officer who responded didn't want to go in there so we had one of our wildlife biologists do it."

The eagle was recovering at the Northeast Nevada Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Spring Creek, and Doucette said the goal was to release it back into the wild.

Jeffrey Spires, owner of Spires Trucking of South Florida in Miramar, Fla., said he thought his drivers were kidding when they called to report the damage.

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