I was on I-95 recently about 10am just south of Richmond sailing along in the left lane going about 70. Traffic was somewhat heavy but moving well, when out of nowhere from my right swooped a bald eagle…yes…a bald eagle (by the way, they are huge!). It evidently saw something tempting on the left road shoulder just in front of me. The complication for the majestic national symbol was the concrete barrier which dissects the massive eight lane highway. That barrier caused the eagle to quickly slow the swooping and beginning an evasive vertical maneuver. The problem was that the subsequent deceleration put it directly in line and close proximity with my hood emblem. During the ensuing fraction of a second, and no time to break or safely swerve, I saw talons and feathers ascend successfully over my vehicle. I am not sure who was more “puckered.”

After the initial shock, I, of course, was thankful not to kill such a iconic and beautiful creature but another concern entered my mind. If I had killed it some legal consequences may have been levied. It is illegal to kill a bald eagle in any fashion (unless you are a wind farm), even by accident! At least it is possible as I have known of unavoidable accidents prosecuted when certain protected animals have been killed.

If you drive in that same area be on the lookout for an errant eagle…don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Dirk

P.S. I have been informed that accidental eagle killings by automobile will not be prosecuted…hmmm…they didn’t say that when I hit one every day (for four days) in 1976 accidentally with my shotgun! (I AM JUST KIDDING! I only accidentally shot two.)

P.S.S. Really, I have never killed or hurt a bald eagle. However, I was part of a rescue of a golden eagle that was seriously caught in a trap in 1976.

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