A Florida driver hurrying to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew picked up an unexpected passenger: a somewhat bedraggled but still proud Bald Eagle that was blown into his car's grill.
Stated by the NHC to be the strongest hurricane to affect northeastern Florida since the 1898 Georgia hurricane, the Category 4 storm sent area residents scattering to the four winds – pun unintended.
One such fleeing resident believed to be from the Fleming Island area south of Jacksonville was speeding along the highway when they noticed something very unusual: an adult Bald Eagle wedged into the front bumper/grill of a passing car!
According to the Clay County Sheriff's Office in Green Cove Springs, Florida, the resident somehow managed to get the eagle-impacted driver's attention and was able to get him to pull over. The sheriff's department was immediately alerted and within minutes, sheriff's deputies and personnel from Clay Fire Rescue arrived at the scene.
After what must have been a harrowing few minutes for man and beast, the no-doubt dazed and confused eagle was gingerly extricated from the car's grill and coaxed into a cage.
It was then taken to the B.E.A.K.S. (Bird Emergency Aid & Kare Sanctuary) Wildlife Sanctuary in Jacksonville, where staff examined the eagle (now dubbed "Matthew", by the way) and determined it to have come through its strange adventure without insult or injury. Well, maybe SOME insult... it's hard to soar like an eagle when you're surrounded by car keys.