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Eagle recovering from critical injuries after car collision

Barnstable veterinarians performed emergency surgery on the bird's snapped leg.

CUMMAQUID—A critically injured bald eagle is recovering from leg surgery after being struck by a car on the North Shore.

The Cape Cod branch of New England Wildlife Center admitted the bird Nov. 29 after an environmental police officer found it along I-495 in Amesbury, two hours from Barnstable.

The team of six doctors performed emergency surgery to the fractured lower leg following the eagle's transfer from Cape Ann Wildlife in Essex. The procedure lasted three hours.

"The leg was very swollen and bruised. It did look relatively recent, so fortunately the bird was found soon after it was potentially hit," medical director Priya Patel told CAI on Saturday during a private visit at the center.

The bone will take at least three weeks to heal, she said.

“Birds are quick healers. As soon as the bone heals we can pull the pins. In birds we can't leave any hardware; they need to remain as light as possible for flying,” Patel said.

While rescued animals spend an average of 40 days in treatment, the eagle is expected to require up to three months of rehabilitation before release.

The Cape Cod team received permission to operate from MassWildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because the eagle is endangered.

If you encounter an animal in distress, call 508-362-0111.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.