A juvenile male golden eagle was rescued off of Egan Drive by the Juneau Raptor Center after being struck by a car Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Kathy Benner)

A juvenile male golden eagle was rescued off of Egan Drive by the Juneau Raptor Center after being struck by a car Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Kathy Benner)

Rare raptor rescued from rainy roadside

This is only the fourth golden eagle to be rescued in Juneau

Members of the Juneau Raptor Center and a Juneau Police Department officer rescued a juvenile golden eagle from the side of Egan Drive near the wetlands Tuesday.

“So around 8.30 this morning, we got a page from Fish and Game,” said JRC manager Kathy Benner. “Someone had hit an eagle on Egan and didn’t have a chance to stop.”

However, when members of the JRC went to investigate, they couldn’t locate the bird, Benner said.

“Around two hours later, I got a page from JPD, and they were on scene with the bird,” Benner said.

[Betraying a bird of prey? Biologist shares insights into goshawk habitat]

Sgt. Sterling Salisbury located the eagle and remained with it to make sure it didn’t wander into traffic. Benner arrived on the scene shortly after, and they were able to capture the eagle without incident.

“It ran a little, we had to chase it a little,” Benner said. “He kinda just gave up.”

Benner said that the juvenile likely suffered a minor injury to the head, though he wasn’t visibly injured otherwise. He was also malnourished, and signs indicated that he had been doing poorly in feeding himself.

“This isn’t really a good territory for golden eagles,” Benner said. “The young ones, a lot of time, are just not finding enough food. They hunt in more open areas and we don’t have enough of that here.”

Benner said the bird will be transported to Sitka where the Alaska Raptor Center is located. It will be treated there for injuries and malnourishment before likely being released near Anchorage, which is a more natural hunting ground for golden eagles.

Benner said this is the 127th bird rescued this year. Usually, the JRC gets about 200 birds a year, Benner said, primarily bald eagles, ravens, crows and songbirds. The most common sources of injury for birds in Juneau are starvation, being struck by cars, getting tangled in fishing lines, hitting windows and being mauled by cats.

“We take care of any kind of bird,” Benner said, though golden eagles are rare in Juneau. “The Raptor Center has been around since 1987 and this is only the fourth golden eagle we’ve gotten.”

If you see a bird that needs assistance

Call the Juneau Raptor Center at 907-790-5424 and follow their directions.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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