Injured eagle bungeed to Harley during rescue rideAmerica’s national symbol got a ride on America’s favorite motorcycle Monday when a Cloquet man found the injured bird along Highway T near Wascott.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune, Pine Journal
America’s national symbol got a ride on America’s favorite motorcycle Monday when a Cloquet man found the injured bird along Highway T near Wascott.
Brian Baladez was riding his Harley when he noticed the bird hopping along the road. There was no deer carcass nearby and the bird didn’t fly when Baladez turned his bike around to investigate.
“It hopped into some tall weeds and I went in after it. It tore into my leather jacket pretty good with those talons. And it bit me. But I finally got control of it,” Baladez said.
Baladez used his jacket to hold the eagle firmly, then he used a bungee cord to strap it to his bike’s saddlebags. He then drove the eagle about 50 miles to the Duluth Zoo.
“I had it so his head was sticking out and he could see, but he couldn’t get free,’’ Baladez said.
Zoo officials couldn’t take the bird, but they gave Baladez the name of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Lakewood outside Duluth. Baladez, live eagle still riding along, was on his way to the rehabilitator when Duluth police caught up to him. A police officer’s wife had seen the live eagle riding on the back of a Harley and reported it to 911, likely aware that unauthorized possession of an eagle is a federal offense.
“They were real good about it and they ended up giving me a ride to the rehabilitator,” Baladez said. “I held the eagle in my arms in the back seat of the squad.”
Baladez said the initial report from the rehabilitator was that the bird had injuries to a leg and at least one wing, but that the rehabilitator was upbeat that the bird would survive.