Rescued Bald Eagle Becomes ‘Backseat Driver’ In Oregon Patrol Car


One bald eagle wasn’t having a particularly good day recently, but fortunately, a kind-hearted police officer stopped to help her. Sergeant First Class Randall Hand responded to a call from a man who found the eagle struggling in a patch of alfalfa at a ranch in Beatty, Oregon. The poor bird was unable to fly.

This Officer Knew How to Help the Injured Bald Eagle

When Hand arrived, the eagle was resting in a patch of shade, and it was obvious she couldn’t fly, The Dodo reports. However, Hand was the right person to give this bird a hand (ha-ha), thanks to his background in working with wild creatures.

“I served approximately five years as a wildlife biologist prior to my work with the Oregon State Police,” Hand said. “While working as a biologist I was trained on the safe capture and handling of all types of wildlife native to Oregon, some of the training was for the safe handling of raptors.”

Hand grabbed a coat from his patrol car and approached the eagle.

Who Responded In Typical Eagle Fashion…

By rolling onto her back and raising her talons in defense. Now Hand was in his element.

“Once on the back, I toss or drop a blanket or coat on the talons and the bird will grab hold,” he said. “I then carefully maneuver the bird upright and gain control of both wings with one hand while carefully gaining control of the legs (above the talons) with the other hand … in this case, the eagle did as was expected and took hold of a coat.”

Tossing a coat or a towel over these birds helps to calm them down. Or at least that’s usually the case. This eagle remained a bit feisty.

“This particular eagle was quite strong and was not pleased at all,” Hand said. “I needed to keep the bird at arm’s length until returning to my patrol vehicle.”

The Eagle Wasn’t A Willing Participant, However.

Now the tricky part was how to transfer the eagle from his arm to the patrol car without injuring her. Because the patrol car was the only way, he could transport her to a wildlife rescue group.

“Unfortunately my car is built to handle human occupants,” Hand said. “I was concerned this bird may damage herself by attempting to get out.”

So he kept an eye on her after placing her in the back seat.


“She did try [to get out] for about three to five seconds before settling onto the seat belts as a perch,” he said. “That is how she rode all the way to the rehabilitator.”

Then he drove her to Badger Run Wildlife Rehab in Klamath Falls, where the eagle was given a thorough examination. That’s when they discovered what was wrong with her wing. One of her shoulders suffered tissue damage, and that requires physical therapy. This gorgeous eagle will also need medication, rest, and relaxation to help rebuild her strength.

“She is doing well, eating voraciously,” said Liz Burton, animal care coordinator for the rescue. “She has extensive soft tissue damage and that takes a lot of time to heal.”

And because of this, it’s too early to tell if the eagle can be released into the wild again.

“We won’t know for several weeks, possibly months,” Burton said.

There’s a good chance that if she’s too injured, she’ll be adopted by a native tribe for an eagle aviary, or she may stay at Badger’s, joining the three other eagles already there. Whatever happens, kudos to this kind officer for saving her life.

If you’re interested in helping this eagle, or any of the other animals at the rescue, here’s where you can go to donate. And you can check out the video below to see how well she’s doing.

Our Bald Eagle patient brought in 6/24/18

Here's an update on the Bald Eagle brought into Badger Run on 6/24 by OSP's Sgt. Hand. This is a very large, adult eagle that we are presuming is a female based on her size. Veterinary examination & X-rays by Dr. Tawnia Shaw show no fractures, however, there is extensive deep tissue damage to one shoulder. For now she has been put on R&R plus medication then will be re-evaluated after 2 weeks. The injury will require extensive physical therapy. At this point her prognosis for release back to the wild is very guarded.

Posted by Badger Run Wildlife Rehab on Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Featured Image by Oregon State Police via Facebook

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