Sustainability Environment

Bald eagle hit by train survives 80-mile ride

Juvenile bald eagle. Istock

Story at a glance

  • A young bald eagle is doing well after being hit by a train and enduring speeds of up to 80 mph while stuck in the engine car’s front rail.
  • The Coulee Region Humane Society said the eagle, believed to be less than a year old, was struck by a southbound train on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.
  • “Eagles getting hit by a train is not anything new,” KasaKaitas said. “However, one that was hit and stuck in the front guard rail and driven for over 80 miles and still alive and doing remarkably well is amazing.”

A young bald eagle is doing well after being hit by a train and enduring speeds of up to 80 mph while stuck in the front rail of the engine car during an 80-mile trip.  

The Coulee Region Humane Society (CRHS) said the eagle, believed to be less than a year old, was struck by a southbound train on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River, The La Crosse Tribune reported 

“We are certainly hopeful that this eagle will be returned and be able to live out its life in the wild,” said Kathy KasaKaitas, animal control protection and rescue supervisor at CRHS.  

Humane society personnel disentangled the eagle and transported the bird to an animal hospital where X-rays revealed no internal fractures or damage, according to the outlet.  

“Eagles getting hit by a train is not anything new,” KasaKaitas said. “However, one that was hit and stuck in the front guard rail and driven for over 80 miles and still alive and doing remarkably well is amazing.” 

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CRHS has contacted the Raptor Education Group to conduct further analysis and coordinate the eagle’s release.  

Veterinarian Mark Hein told the paper the birds are generally tough but added that it’s a “pretty lucky eagle.” 

“An eagle is a pretty tough bird,” he said. “They’re built to take a lot of shock because of the way they hunt.” 

“If they break a wing, they can’t hunt,” he said. 


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