The outfit of choice for Dandon Miller is a red and black flannel. He’s owned the shirt for eight years and wears it often, but he never imagined that one day it might be useful in saving someone’s life.
Miller was traveling from Philadelphia to his house on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend when the traffic in front of him slowed down. Miller parked his motorcycle over to the side of the two-way street and was startled to discover the reason for the gridlock.
Miller told The Dodo, “I looked down to see why everyone was stopping and there was a bald eagle in the center of the road.”
“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.”
Miller first phoned 911 and then contacted Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, a nearby facility for rehabilitating wild birds, after moving the eagle out of the way. While awaiting the arrival of rescue personnel, Miller held the 15-pound bird for nearly 45 minutes. But it appeared as though time was flying by.
“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.”
The rescue is optimistic that the bald eagle will finally be able to be reintroduced into the wild after a few days of therapy.
She suffered soft tissue damage and a little eye injury, but no broken bones, according to Rebecca Stansell of Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, who spoke to The Dodo. “Our wildlife veterinarian attended to her wounds while the eagle was sedated. Although anything can happen, we are confident in her ability to recover fully.”
Miller’s preferred flannel has undoubtedly seen better days.
Although the shirt now has a few noticeable talon holes, Miller understands it was done for the best reason and he will wear it again without a doubt.