Bald Eagle Recovering At Detroit Zoo After Being Struck By Train

"We’re happy that we’re able to offer her a home here at the Detroit Zoo."

WWJ News
February 13, 2020 - 6:36 pm
Captain Marvel the Bald Eagle

Photo: Detroit Zoo

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ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WWJ) -- A bald eagle that authorities believe was struck by a train last fall is on the mend at the Detroit Zoo.

The female bald eagle was discovered injured in a Wendy's parking lot in Monroe back in October with a severe injury to its wing. A citizen reported seeing an eagle collide with a train a week prior and the Detroit Zoological Society jumped in to rescue the wounded bird.

Due to her wing injury, the eagle, who is estimated to be around 4 years old, will never be able to fly again, so she couldn’t be returned to the wild after receiving veterinary care for her injury. 

"We’re happy that we’re able to offer her a home here at the Detroit Zoo," said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the DZS. "We’re glad to report that she is settling in very well."

The bird, named Captain Marvel, joins two other rescued bald eagles at the Zoo -- Flash and Mr. America, in their American Grasslands habitat.

Mr. America and Captain Marvel
Photo: Detroit Zoo
Mr. America arrived in 2017 from southern Indiana after he flew into a power line and injured his wing, rendering him non-releasable. Flash was brought to the zoo in 2009 from Kodiak Island, Alaska, after he suffered a severe electric shock.

Officials say visitors at the Detroit Zoo can identify Captain Marvel by her brighter beak and her head, which has more brown plumage compared to the others.  

Her head should turn completely white in the next year or two when she reaches adulthood, according to the DZS. Adult bald eagles have white heads and tails with dark brown bodies and wings. The new female weighs just under 10 pounds, second only to Flash, who weighs just over 10 pounds. Mr. America, the smallest bird in the habitat, can often be seen perched next to Captain Marvel.

“Female bald eagles tend to display more assertive behaviors, so she could end up being in charge in the eagles’ habitat,” said Carter.

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) earns its name from the Old English word “balde,” meaning white, referencing the distinctive white feathers covering the head and tail.  Bald eagles use their feathers to balance – when they lose a feather on one wing, they will also lose a matching feather on the other side.