Wisconsin driver hits bald eagle, then helps save its life

A bald eagle was recently hit by a car in western Wisconsin, but it will hopefully be soaring through the skies again soon. What's really remarkable is that the woman who hit the eagle is playing a key role in its recovery.

For most of us, the bald eagle is the national bird -- a symbol of the strength and majesty of the United States. But for Robbie Tribbey, an eagle became an unexpected passenger during a trip from cabin country to her home in Superior, Wis. See photos of the rescue and transit at http://www.fox9.com/news/13064245-gallery

Tribbey and her son Devin were driving near Danbury, Wis. on Sunday when they saw the bald eagle feasting on roadkill in some brush on the side the road. The bird tried to fly off, but Tribbey couldn't avoid hitting it, sending it up over her vehicle and back down to the ground.

"First I was scared to death, then I just wanted to cry because that poor bird," she said.

For the next 3 hours, Tribbey and her son tried to help the injured eagle by holding up blankets to keep it from getting spooked by other cars. They eventually wrangled the bird they nicknamed "America" and drove it to the Wildwoods Rehabilitation Center in Duluth, in a dog kennel they found along the way.

"My second thought was this is a once in life time experience, it's never going to happen to either one of us again," Tribbey said.

But America needed x-rays at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota to see if she had any internal injuries. So, Wildwoods staff posted an appeal on Facebook, asking if the injured eagle could hitch a ride.

Ultimately, Tribbey volunteered -- and for the second time in as many days, she loaded America into her SUV and drove her to Minneapolis.

"They told us to keep quiet, keep the chatter down to a minimum so the bird isn't excited or scared," she said.

Luckily, America only has bumps and bruises, and she is now standing and eating on her own. But Tribbey is looking forward to the day that America is ready to spread her wings once more.

"I wanted to give my sons a lesson in being kind and doing good," she said. "I really want to see America released, and I would love to be there when that happens."