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Eagle Released To Wildlife Rehab Center After Being Rescued Near Chicago Hotel

CHICAGO (CBS) – An animal control officer rescued Monday night an eagle that "had a tussle" with a hotel window on the North Side.

People walking near Chestnut and Wabash at around 10 p.m. Monday night saw a bald eagle on the sidewalk looking dazed. It is believed that the bird "had a tussle with a Sofitel Hotel window downtown," according to Chicago Animal Care and Control.

Annette Prince, director of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, received almost a dozen calls to the volunteer group's hotline about it. She said this is the first time since they have been helping migratory birds navigate the Loop since 2003, that they have spotted an eagle.

"Eagles are around, they certainly are not living or spending time downtown, but they pass through that area as they are moving to different territories and that must have been what happened to this bird," Prince said.

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Eagle rescued near Sofitel Chicago on Chestnut and Wabash (Credit: Sofitel Hotel)

She said the immature bald eagle, which does not have the characteristic white head yet, was collected by Chicago Animal Care and Control. Prince was hopeful the bird will recover and be released into the wild.

Chicago Animal Care and Control took the bird to a suburban wildlife center after officers threw a sheet over it and captured the eagle, which Prince estimate weighs about ten pounds and is three feet long.

The Chicago Animal Care and Control posted an update on Facebook on Tuesday morning reading, "CACC is a place where both the tame and the wild things come ... and thanks to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, it is the place where this wild and beautiful sub-adult Bald eagle, who had a tussle with a Sofitel window downtown, left at 7:00 this morning. Thank you Dawn! #BetterTogether #CareIsWhatWeDo"

The eagle is at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Barrington for evaluation.

Crashing into a window at a high speed can cause brain swelling, Price says, so it's not clear what if any damage the animal sustained.

Dawn Keller is founder of the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehab Center in Barrington, where the eagle is recovering.

"The eagle is doing well so far," Keller said. "It's standing. It's alert. Everything looks pretty good."

CBS: Any indication how hard the eagle hit the hotel?

"I don't know how hard it hit, but a bird that size doesn't hit very lightly," Keller said.

Remarkably, Keller said the eagle shows no sign of head trauma or other injuries.

An eagle collision is very rare in Chicago, though the eagle population is growing since the insecticide DDT was banned.

"And so as they recovered and their populations have recovered having an eagle in rehab is not nearly as uncommon as it used to be," Keller said.

The Flint Creek Wildlife Center is treating the eagle for what's called a "heavy echo parasite load," which may be the sign of an underlying health issue. When the eagle has fully recovered it'll be released, free as a bird.

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