Bald Eagle Survives After Flying Into Path of Big Rig

Shepherd, MI – The national bird of the United States had quite a run-in with a big rig this week… literally.

The rare incident took place on Wednesday between 9 and 10 a.m. on US-127 about six miles south of Mt. Pleasant, Chief Luke Sawyer with the Shepherd Police Department (SPD) told Transportation Nation Network (TNN).

According to Sawyer, the magnificent bald eagle flew into the passenger side door a semi-truck traveling on US-127 near mile marker 134.


A motorist, which was traveling directly behind the semi, witnessed the bird — who was flying East — slam into the truck.

The bird, undoubtedly a little rattled from the impact, bounced off the truck and into the right lane of the highway, where he sat following his head-on collision (pun intended).

Sawyer said the driver of the passenger vehicle stopped and called 9-1-1, and even stood with America’s national bird until help arrived.

“It’s amazing that somebody didn’t hit the bird or hit the vehicle that stopped for it,” Sawyer exclaimed, noting the speed limit in that stretch of US-127 is 75 miles per hour.

Help came along shortly in the form of SPD Officer Jay Janofski.

The bird “wasn’t real happy” as Janofski arrived, but with the aid of some welding gloves and a towel, the officer was able to pick him up and get him out of the middle of the roadway.


Janofski put the special passenger in his patrol car and transported him to a nearby wildlife rehabilitation center.

“We never used to see bald eagles [in the area] and now they’re all over the place,” Sawyer told TNN. “It was a very cool thing.”

The male eagle is safely in the care of Wildlife Rehab Center in Midland County, where he received some antibiotics and vitamins to help build up his strength.

Thankfully, the bird doesn’t have any serious injuries following his run-in with the big rig.

WRC estimates he is older than five years due to the eagle’s coloring, though his exact age is not known.

Bald eagles under the age of five have mostly dark heads and tails, whereas the one rescued on US-127 had a completely white head.

“Pictures don’t do him justice!” Sawyer exclaimed. “The male wing span is pretty significant.”


Sawyer said when it’s time to release the bird, officers from SPD will be invited to come watch.

As for the driver of the semi, Sawyer questions if the driver was even aware it has happened, as the trucker did not stop to render aid.

“Who knows if the trucker even heard [the impact]?” Sawyer surmised.

Nonetheless, Sawyer said if you were driving in the area yesterday and happen to have damage on the passenger-side of your semi, call SPD and it will issue you an accident report.



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