Two fighting bald eagles had to make an emergency crash landing at an airport in Duluth, Minnesota after their talons locked together.
Two eagles, with their talons so deeply imbedded in each other that they couldn’t let go, crashed into a runway at Duluth International Airport.
Minnesota Conservation Officer Randy Hanzal was called upon to pick up the birds and transfer them to Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Duluth for treatment.
According to Hanzal: “Usually, they will let go of each other before hitting the ground, but in this case, they had the talons so deeply imbedded in each other they may have been unable to let go.”
The surprisingly calm birds had to be loaded into the back of the conservation officer’s truck, covered with blankets, and strapped down with webbing.
On the way to the wildlife center, Hanzal noticed a commotion in the back of the truck and saw one of the eagles lift out of the vehicle and fly away, seemingly no worse for the wear.
The second bird was treated with antibiotics and given fluids. Both birds are expected to recover fully.
“There are days on Wisconsin Point where I see it regularly,” said Frank Nicoletti, director of banding at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Duluth.
“I often see them locking and heading down toward land or water. They generally break off. It’s pretty rare for them to hit the ground.”
Photos via Duluth News Tribune