July 10, 2014
ODOT employees in Brothers are accustomed to rescuing motorists. They’re sometimes the only resource out on the long, lonely route of U.S. 20 into the Oregon high desert east of Bend. This rescue was different; the injured couldn’t speak for herself.
It was mid-morning, 90 degrees and punishing sunshine out near Hampton that day. A contractor’s crew was laying down a chip seal (paving) there. Suddenly, they saw the victim in the middle of the highway; a mature golden eagle, apparently hit by a vehicle. That’s when Senior Project Inspector Bill Martin flew into action.
Martin corralled the big bird into a safe area, away from the highway. Then he set up a makeshift umbrella over the bird to protect it from the scorching rays of the sun. He called for help from High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Bend.
“All I was thinking about was how to keep it cool and how to keep it alive until the vet got here,” Martin said.
The rescue group dispatched a veterinarian to the scene and took the critically injured bird to their clinic to care for it.
High Desert’s Dr. Jeff Cooney gives Martin and the crew credit for helping save the eagle. “If they hadn’t stayed with it, we likely never would have found it,” he said. “Providing shade was especially helpful.”
At the time this story was written, the bird was in stable, but critical condition at the High Desert Rescue clinic. Dr. Cooney is treating it for a broken wing and other injuries. His plan is to treat the bird, watch its recovery and then decide what to do next.
For more information, contact Peter Murphy, ODOT Region 4 public information officer, (541) 388-6224.