BIRD STRUCK ON U.S. 441

UF vet team tends to eagle's injuries


Published: Friday, January 30, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 30, 2004 at 12:31 a.m.
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University of Florida vet technician Elijah Rooney holds a bald eagle after removing it from a cardboard box used to transport the injured bird Thursday. The eagle was hit by a car traveling south on U.S. 441 in Micanopy while it was feeding on a dead animal in the road.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun
A call to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office about a vehicle accident Thursday was the start of an out-of-the-ordinary morning for one traffic field service technician.
The truck involved had a broken windshield. The victim was a bald eagle.
According to Sheriff's Lt. Jim Troiano, Lee Poole of Fort McCoy was driving south on U.S. 441, approaching Micanopy in his Chevrolet pickup about 10 a.m., when he spotted the bird picking at a dead animal in the roadway ahead.
"He said that he expected the bird to fly away, but it didn't," Troiano said.
Instead, it crashed into Poole's windshield.
After he struck the bird, according to police reports, Poole called the Sheriff's Office for assistance because the eagle was hurt but still hopping along the side of the road. No charges were filed against the driver.
Field service technician Leo Lowe responded, then called in Toni Levy to help capture the wounded bird, which was now in the nearby woods. Levy, who lives in Micanopy, is a volunteer with Florida Wildlife Care.
She captured the struggling eagle, which has a wing spread of about five feet, covered it with a sheet, and put it into a cardboard TV carton for a trip to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.
Vet school personnel reported late Thursday that the female eagle, which they named Alexandra, was doing well.
"She's very alert," said Sarah Carey, spokeswoman for the College of Veterinary Medicine. "She didn't want to see people, which is a good sign."
Veterinary staff were waiting for results of an X-ray Thursday afternoon to determine their next step.
Diane Chun can be reached at (352) 374-5041 or chund@gvillesun.com. Sun staff writer Kathy Ciotola contributed to this report.

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