A bald eagle found Thursday morning on the side of Sunrise Highway in Shirley after being hit by a driver has two broken wings and will never fly again — and may need to be euthanized, according to a wildlife rehabilitator in East Norwich.
“This might not be a happy ending for this bird,” the rehabilitator, Bobby Horvath of the organization WINORR, or Wildlife In Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation, said of the 3-year-old male bald eagle after X-rays by a veterinarian. with the group.
“It’s severely injured. There’s two broken wings right now. We know it’s not gonna be able to fly, the bird’s never gonna fly, because of the fracture, where it’s shattered, its wings are shattered,” he said.
The state is trying to determine whether the bird can be kept in captivity for educational purposes or “needs to be euthanized,” Horvath said.
The bald eagle was found about 10:37 am on Sunrise Highway between Exits 58 and 59, according to an email from the Suffolk County Police Department press office.
Horvath said a driver hit the bird. Additional details about the motorist or the vehicle were not released.
In the email, Suffolk County police said they turned the bird over to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Horvath said an officer from that agency gave the bird to WINORR.
The state agency, which did not return a call seeking comment, will determine the bird’s fate, he said.
“That could be a sad story,” Horvath said.
The bald eagle, chosen in 1782 by the Founding Fathers to be America’s national bird, is seen on the Great Seal of the United States, in the logos of federal agencies, on the presidential seal, on coins and paper money and on postage. Beginning in the mid-1900s, the bird was at risk of extinction, and was later added to the endangered species list. The endangered designation was removed in 2007 because bald eagle populations sufficiently recovered, according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service.