Drivers, watch out for eagles on road during deer season

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is warning motorists to watch out for bald eagles on the road as they are driving this fall. Officials say this is the time of year when they receive numerous calls about dead or injured eagles on roads throughout the state.

The DNR says an increase in deer activity this time of year leads to more road-killed deer, which attracts animals, such as eagles, to the carcasses for a free meal.

Eagles that have over-eaten are often too heavy to fly until they digest their meal, putting them at greater risk of getting hit by approaching cars.

Eagles can also suffer from neurological issues if they are exposed to lead in the carcass of animal they are eating, the DNR says. They may become disoriented and not know to fly off when a car is approaching.

Officials say moving dead deer off the roadway can improve the safety of other motorists and wildlife.

If you encounter a dead eagle, you can either leave it alone or bring it to the nearest DNR office – just call ahead first to be sure they have a freezer. If you encounter an injured eagle, contact the local DNR office, a wildlife rehabilitator or the University of Minnesota Raptor Center.