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Bald eagle, presumed dead, revives in back seat, shocking driver

Friday, October 23rd 2020, 9:56 am - The driver had picked up the eagle after he saw it apparently lifeless on the side of the road

cbc: Conservation officer Joel Kline was able to safely place the eagle in a secure kennel. (RCMP) Conservation officer Joel Kline was able to safely place the eagle in a secure kennel. (RCMP via CBC News)

A driver who picked up what he thought was a dead bald eagle got quite the shock after the bird started to show signs of life in the back seat of his van en route to the conservation office, say RCMP.

Svend Nielsen, the staff sergeant with 100 Mile House RCMP, said the man drove his van into the detachment parking lot saying he had a bald eagle in the back of his van.

The driver told the attending constable that he had been driving along the highway when he spotted the eagle on the side of the road.

Thinking it was dead, and possibly struck by a car, he put the bird in the back of his van so he could take it to town and turn it over to the conservation team.

"And basically, he'd been driving along and [he] took a look back and suddenly [the eagle] was sitting there staring at him," Nielsen said.

The driver panicked, and drove straight to the RCMP detachment.

CBC: The full-size adult eagle, which was placed in the back seat of the van, suddenly woke up from what is presumed to be a concussion-induced sleep while the driver was driving.   (RCMP ) The full-size adult eagle, which was placed in the back seat of the van, suddenly woke up from what is presumed to be a concussion-induced sleep while the driver was driving. (RCMP via CBC News)

Nielsen said it's possible the eagle had a concussion of sorts and was completely knocked out before it revived in the moving vehicle.

"You can kind of imagine it, you know, sort of spreading its wings around and trying to get readjusted again and I mean, how much of an impact it would have to you in a vehicle [that] was moving down the highway ... you wouldn't want that there," Nielsen said.

After the attending constable checked and saw the eagle still moving in the back seat, conservation officers were called to secure the bird.

Conservation officer Joel Kline was able to put a blanket around the full-size adult and relocate it to a kennel.

"It was a bright red kennel and the eagle [did] not look happy," said Nielsen.

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The conservation service took the eagle to a local veterinarian to be examined. There are plans to take the eagle to a rehabilitation centre in the Lower Mainland.

"Obviously, good news for the eagle is it's been able to, you know, continue to live, thankfully."

Under the provincial Wildlife Act, it is illegal to possess a bald eagle in British Columbia.

This article was originally published for CBC News. Contains files from Radio West.

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