Stranded Eagle Rides D.C. Train to Freedom, but Prognosis Is Grim

Suffering from a broken wing, the eagle was stuck in limbo until police and wildlife rescuers arrived.

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Even though their vision is five times better than humans, this bald eagle still couldn't avoid becoming entangled in this fence. (Photo: Courtesy DC Metro)

A story of hope has taken a turn for the worse.

Last week, a passerby noticed a bald eagle trapped in a fence about 300 yards from the Blue Line in Alexandria, Virginia, reports The Washington Post.

The concerned citizen reported the bird to the Metro Police. When transit authorities contacted The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia, wildlife experts monitored the bird for two days before launching a rescue mission last Saturday. 

An out-of -service D.C. Metro train was dispatched to rescue the trapped animal.

Regularly scheduled trains were rerouted as wildlife specialists, animal control officers and transit police subdued the fallen eagle, which was then transported to Raptor Conservancy of Virginia in Falls Church for rehabilitation and eventual release.

The wildlife experts have now concluded that the eagle has suffered a broken wing and cannot fly on its own.

"It's a bad problem, you can't make wings regrow," said the conservancy's Ken Knowles to WTOP. "In a human, it would be like ripping off the hand at the wrist. You can't fix it."

In the next few days, surgeons will determine if the bird can be saved.

Adopted by Congress as the national symbol, bald eagles are no longer on the endangered species list. With wingspans that range up to 90 inches, bald eagles can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.