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‘Stuck in my grille:’ Red-tailed hawk hit by truck at 70 mph will likely live to fly another day

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Eric Broom

WAUKESHA -- Wildlife experts say it's miraculous that a hawk hit by a truck at more than 70 miles-per-hour will likely live to fly another day. The bird got stuck inside the truck's grille, and the driver, Eric Broom, said there was nothing he could do.

Broom said by the time he saw the hawk swooping down in front of his pickup truck, it was too late. Wildlife experts say the hawk is one of the luckiest birds they've ever met.

He was headed to a job interview when it happened.

"I was on time, so that was great," Broom said. "I said 'first off, do you work with the Humane Society? Because I have a live hawk stuck in the front of my grille.'"

There was an unexpected mishap on his way to Waukesha.

"Unfortunately at the rate of speed I was going, I knew I was going to hit it," Broom said.


At 70 miles-per-hour on Highway 16, Broom said a red-tailed hawk flew into the front of his truck, and when he arrived at his location, he was shocked at what he found.

"I got out and looked to see what the damage was and the bird was alive," Broom said.

"The wings protruding out of the grille work and the head, looked almost surreal. You couldn't duplicate that again," Mark Hess with the Humane Animal Welfare Society said.

After slowly extricating the bird from the grille, there was one more surprise.

"The main thing is we didn't find any major injuries with it," Hess said. "We were expecting not a good outcome. We were expecting something very serious -- especially a wing or a leg fracture."

The hawk was taken to the Wildlife in Need Center in Oconomowoc. Mandy Feabel, animal care director, said X-rays showed the adult male was bruised and may have internal injuries, but showed promising signs of a full recovery.

"He is alert. He is standing, which is great, so hopefully in the next few days he will start eating on his own so he can be set to be released," Feabel said.

Broom said he's thrilled.

"It's a miracle," he said.

And there was more good news. Following an unforgettable interview, he was offered the job.

"I grew up out here and went to school at St. Peters and our logo was the Hawks. It's nice to see Hawks stick together and survive together perse," he said.

Experts at the Wildlife in Need Center are monitoring the hawk for potential internal bleeding.

They'll be posting updates on their Facebook page.

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