Wedge-tailed eagle has emergency surgery after truck crash

TO THE RESCUE: Wildlife carer June Ryan lent a helping hand during the rescue of an injured wedge-tailed eagle in Emerald.
TO THE RESCUE: Wildlife carer June Ryan lent a helping hand during the rescue of an injured wedge-tailed eagle in Emerald. Contributed

A RUN-IN between a truck and an eagle saw a handful of compassionate people jump into action to save the life of one of the country's protected birds.

A wedge-tailed eagle was accidentally hit at Gregory Mine, Emerald last week and instantly had a bone in its wing snapped in two.

Emerald wildlife carer June Ryan was first to be called in an effort to save the eagle.

"I got a call from the environmental officer at the mine telling me a truck driver had hit the bird," June said.

"The most important part is that the truck driver stopped and checked on the bird.

"The eagle went straight into some nearby grass, but didn't fly."

With instructions from June to capture the bird in a blanket in order to stay safe from its sharp talons, it was brought straight to her.

"One look at the bird told me his wing was broken; it was through the skin and the wing was wrapped around heaps," the 54-year-old said.

"The wing was twisted around two or three times, so I wound it back to where it's supposed to be.

"We had to get the bird from Emerald to Rockhampton as quickly as possible because of the risk of infection and its exposed bone."

First they headed to the Emerald vet for pain medication for the eagle, but June said she knew the bird needed surgery as soon as possible to survive.

With the help of a Yeppoon woman, who "dropped everything to come and collect the bird", the eagle was in surgery in Rockhampton the next day.

June, who has been a wildlife carer for five years, said the bird had since had a pin inserted in its wing and was off to a rehabilitation centre for animals in Brisbane.

The eagle will undergo 12 months of rehabilitation before being released back into the wild.

THE WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE   It lives throughout mainland Australia, Tasmania and southern New Guinea   It eats both live prey and carrion; rabbits make up 30-70% of their diet   The birds are monogamous and mate for life   It is the most common of the world's large eagles   It is threatened by habitat loss      

Topics:  crash truck wedge-tailed eagle wildlife

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