IDOT crew finds injured Bald Eagle along busy expressway

An IDOT crew spotted something very unusual Tuesday morning along the Stevenson Expressway, near the Cass Avenue exit.

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - An IDOT crew spotted something very unusual Tuesday morning along the Stevenson Expressway, near the Cass Avenue exit.

The crew found an injured Bald Eagle just off the highway and they stepped into action, holding the bird until animal control arrived on scene.

Now, the eagle is being cared for at the Willowbrook Wildlife center.

IDOT highway workers Chris Burgard and Jose Carnalla have seen it all, or at least they thought so.

"We were going through the bus lane picking up large debris and my coworker says, 'hey is that a tire across the way? Or is that a bird?'" said IDOT employee Chris Burgard.

Not knowing exactly what it was, they turned around to investigate and found the injured Bald Eagle.

"You see deer, you see coyotes, but when it was a bald eagle, I mean, it's a once in a lifetime experience, we had to do something about it," said Jose Carnalla, another IDOT highway maintenance worker.

So, they watched it making sure it didn't wander into traffic and called for help.

Animal control brought the eagle to the Willowbrook Wildlife center where it was examined.

“He laid on his chest for a long time, like hours, and we were really worried that was the end and he wasn't getting up, but he's gotten up this afternoon and he will stand there, but he's not super reactive," said veterinarian Jen Nevis.

She said the eagle, most likely a 4-5 year old male, has bruising on its head and wings and scrapes on its feet.

She said the bird may have been clipped by a vehicle.

“Other things I’m concerned about with not seeing a lot of trauma on this bird and no blood involved would be West Nile virus, a toxicity, he got shot, and if it's a lot of little pellets, I can't see blood with that," said Nevis.

She said they don't see a lot of eagles, but because of repopulation, this may become a trend.

Burgard and Carnalla say as veterans themselves, this majestic animal means a lot to them and they are proud to have served it.

“It means a lot to me. I think it's a symbol of freedom here in America and so I take that personally," said Burgard.

So, a best case scenario the vet says is that the Bald Eagle was clipped by a car and just needs to rest and could be set free in a couple of weeks.

Worst case scenario is the eagle may have West Nile and probably wouldn't come back from that.

The vet plans for more meds Wednesday and a full exam and X-rays on Thursday.

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