Two adult bald eagles made an unplanned landing on the tarmac at the Duluth International Airport on Sunday.
The two birds had locked talons in mid-air and couldn’t get separated before they crashed to the concrete, said Randy Hanzal, a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Both birds survived the fall but remained entangled.
“Their talons were embedded in each other very deeply,” Hanzal said.
An employee of Monaco Air, an aircraft servicing center at the airport, had seen the birds fall and called the DNR after they were on the ground. Hanzal collected the birds, both adults, and tried to transport them to Wildwoods, a wildlife rehabilitation organization in Duluth.
|(Randy Hanzal / Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)|
That didn’t go so well.
“The guys at the airport told me put them in the front of the truck,” Hanzal said. “My better judgment told me not to do that.”
Good thing. Hanzal didn’t have a portable cage large enough to contain the eagles, he said. He put them in the back of the pickup and covered them with blankets and jackets. He strapped them down with webbing straps and traveled slowly to Wildwoods, about two miles away.