Eagle injured by flying into boat is recovering

This Friday, April 25, 2014, photo shows Patti Stangel of Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release, Inc. and Scott Kregness with a bald eagle at a rest stop in Menomonie, Wis. The bird crashed through the Kregness' boat's shrink wrap earlier that day as it was traveling along Interstate 94. Stangel said that after the bird is examined it will be released.
This Friday, April 25, 2014, photo shows Patti Stangel of Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release, Inc. and Scott Kregness with a bald eagle at a rest stop in Menomonie, Wis. The bird crashed through the Kregness' boat's shrink wrap earlier that day as it was traveling along Interstate 94. Stangel said that after the bird is examined it will be released. (AP Photo/Courtesy Marilyn Kregness)

MENOMONIE (AP) – A bald eagle that was injured when he flew into a shrink-wrapped boat moving on Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin is on the avian equivalent of bed rest, its caretaker said Monday.

“He is eating on his own, he is alert and feisty but it’s going to take time to recover from the impact,” said Julia Ponder, executive director of the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.

The adult male flew into white shrink wrap Friday as the boat was being towed at about 70 miles an hour near Menomonie. Scott and Marilyn Kregness, who were driving the truck, saw the bird fly past and noticed the hole in the shrink wrap when looking in the rearview mirror but didn’t realize he was still inside until another driver alerted them.

They called Patti Stangel, founder of Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release Inc. in Colfax, who came out to the rest stop to get the bird. It was transferred Saturday to the Raptor Center.

Ponder said Monday the bird’s internal organs were jarred and he has an eye hemorrhage. He’s in a hospitalization cage and they might test his flying in a couple of weeks. From there, he may need an exercise program to be reconditioned. She said the eagle has no broken bones and the injuries all involved soft tissue, so she thought he had a good chance of recovering.

“Right now he’s feisty so I don’t expect it to be too long,” she said.

The couple, of Tower, Minn., was taking the boat from Florida to the Breitung, Minn. fire department, which owns it.

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