A bald eagle coughing up blood along the side of Glacier Highway drew sympathy from one Juneau man Thursday, who said he couldn't understand how others could drive by without stopping to help.
"I was crying quite a bit," said Christopher Rogers, who tried to save the injured bird by driving it to a veterinarian, only to see it die on the way. "My grandmother believed in Native religion stories, and I grew up on them."
People care about injured eagles, said Janet Capito of the Juneau Raptor Center. But because the center is staffed with volunteers who have full-time jobs, quickly getting to every bird in distress isn't possible, she explained.
Rogers said his wife, Haley Rogers, saw the "beautiful mature eagle" in the bicycle lane in the 5600 block of Glacier Highway and told him about it. A wing appeared broken, and the bird was having trouble breathing.
Processed salmon from a vacuum-sealed bag was on the ground nearby, he added. The police were called, as was the raptor center, which had to be paged. Finally, Rogers wrapped the eagle in a blanket from his car and he and his wife drove it to an animal hospital up the highway.
Rogers said he was upset that somebody could hit a bald eagle and not stop, and also that others drove by, until they began to stop to see what he was doing.
Capito said the center hears about vehicles hitting eagles several times a year. Sometimes the accidents are unavoidable, she added.
She said she got a page from the police before she got a page from the people attending the bird. Someone got there within 25 minutes, but the bird was already gone from the scene.
She said she was sorry no one could get there sooner, although sometimes the wild birds the raptor center takes in are too badly injured to survive. For wild-bird emergencies, the center can be paged at 790-5424.
"We're an all-volunteer organization," said Capito, who works as a school nurse. "We all have jobs."