Dandon Miller’s favorite piece of clothing is a red and black flannel. He’s had the shirt for eight years and wears it all the time — but he never thought it would one day come in handy when saving a life.
On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, Miller was on his way home from Philadelphia when traffic slowed in front of him. Miller pulled his motorcycle off to the side of the two-way highway and was shocked when he realized what was causing the traffic jam.
“I looked down to see why everyone was stopping and there was a bald eagle in the middle of the road,” Miller told The Dodo. “Another person was there and they kind of nudged her a little bit to see if she would walk off the road or fly away. She spread her wings open and was not going to go anywhere.”
An avid animal lover, Miller knew he had to help the injured bird get out of harm’s way.
The large animal was too hurt to fly, but her powerful talons were reason enough for Miller to take off his favorite flannel and throw it over her. To Miller’s surprise, the eagle remained sedate as he wrapped her in the shirt.
“I picked her up and she was very calm,” Miller said. “She got a little worked up when people started wanting to take pictures, but we were able to get that under control.”
Once Miller moved the eagle out of the road, he called 911 and eventually got in touch with Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, a local rehabilitation center for wild birds. Miller held the 15-pound bird for about 45 minutes while waiting for rescue staffers to arrive. But the time seemed to pass quickly.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it when I was holding her,” Miller said. “I was just trying to keep her calm and make sure she knows she’s secure, and I wasn’t going to drop her or anything.”
“It was just amazing to hold that bird and for her to be calm like that,” Miller added. “Just amazing.”
After a few days of treatment, the rescue is confident that the bald eagle will eventually be able to be released into the wild.
“She had a mild injury to one eye and soft tissue injuries, but no broken bones,” Rebecca Stansell with Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research told The Dodo. “Her wounds were treated by our wildlife veterinarian while the eagle was under anesthesia. The unexpected can always happen, but we are optimistic that she will make a full recovery.”
As for Miller’s favorite flannel, it has certainly seen better days.
The shirt now has a few large talon holes in it, but Miller knows it was for the best cause — and he will definitely be wearing it again.