HUNTER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — “Freedom” the bald eagle is on the mend and responding well to treatment. The bird of prey was hit by a vehicle on Route 17 in Blooming Grove on Tuesday. New York State Police took the lead on the rescue after a driver spotted the eagle on the side of the road.

Trooper Bryan Whalen uses jacket and bite sleeve to corral Freedom

Trooper Bryan Whalen was one of the responding officers and used a combination of his jacket and a K9 Trooper’s bite sleeve to corral the eagle into a kennel provided by the Warwick Valley Animal Rescue. The Department of Environmental Conservation helped get the eagle to the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center in Hunter to be treated. The rescuers named the injured bird “Freedom” after the symbol he represents.

  • Courtesy: NYSP

That’s where Missy Runyan comes in on the apex predator’s road to recovery. The licensed eagle rehabilitation expert says Freedom suffered a massive head injury affecting the entire left side of his body, including his eye. Eye injuries can be life-threatening for birds and limit their ability to ever be re-released into the wild. Thankfully, Runyan says Freedom’s vision is improving as his cranial swelling begins to go down. “I have to make sure we’re getting a healthy bird back out there.” Missy is optimistic Freedom will be able to fly back in the skies in a few weeks. “He’s waiting to be tough, he just has to figure out what he’s fighting.” 

“Freedom’s personality is also much improved,” Runyan added, noting a boost in the bird’s attitude as he’s treated for breathing and bruises. On Facebook, Runyan thanked the incredible teamwork of State Police, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Warwick Valley Humane Society for their speedy response saying “delay in care could have surely worsened an already dismal situation.”

Freedom responding to treatment at Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center in Hunter, N.Y.

For now, the group at Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center will closely monitor Freedom with the hope of getting him back into the wild where he belongs.