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 Captain Marvel, an approximately 4-year-old female bald eagle who is believed to have collided with a train in Monroe last fall, is reportedly thriving in her new home at the Detroit Zoo.

Captain Marvel, an approximately 4-year-old female bald eagle who is believed to have collided with a train in Monroe last fall, is reportedly thriving in her new home at the Detroit Zoo.

Photo provided by the Detroit Zoo


Female eagle struck by train finds new home at Detroit Zoo

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published February 17, 2020

 Mr. America, a bald eagle rescued from southern Indiana after he flew into a power line, has been spotted perching beside the newest addition to the habitat, Captain Marvel, right, at the Detroit Zoo.

Mr. America, a bald eagle rescued from southern Indiana after he flew into a power line, has been spotted perching beside the newest addition to the habitat, Captain Marvel, right, at the Detroit Zoo.

Photo provided by the Detroit Zoo

ROYAL OAK — Bald eagles are unquestionably a tough bunch, but the backstories of the brood at the Detroit Zoo, now up to three with the newest addition, are marked by triumph over tragedy.

Captain Marvel, as the 4-year-old female is now called, was discovered in a Wendy’s parking lot in Monroe last fall with a severe wing injury. A week prior, a citizen reported witnessing a train and a bald eagle collide.

Captain Marvel, as well as the two other rescued bald eagles at the zoo named Flash and Mr. America, will never be able to fly again. The Detroit Zoological Society has a long history of rehabilitating and providing sanctuary for injured, abandoned, surrendered or confiscated animals.

DZS Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter said Captain Marvel is settling in to her new home very well.

“We’re really happy with how she’s doing,” Carter said. “Female bald eagles tend to display more assertive behaviors, so she could end up being in charge in the eagles’ habitat.”

The eagles’ habitat is situated in the American Grasslands portion of the zoo. DZS staff reported that Mr. America, the smallest bird in the habitat, can often be seen perched next to Captain Marvel. She weighs just under 10 pounds, while Flash weighs just over 10 pounds.

Mr. America arrived in 2017 from southern Indiana after he flew into a power line and injured his wing, rendering him non-releasable. He now has only one wing. Flash came to the zoo in 2009 from Kodiak Island, Alaska, after he suffered a severe electric shock.

“There isn’t a captive breeding program for eagles and it’s probably not something we will encourage,” Carter said. “Eagles as a species have had a real comeback in numbers really due to protections put in place a couple of decades ago.”

He said eagles have been protected from hunting for a long time, but their numbers faltered due to pesticides, particularly dichlorodiphenyltricholoroethane, or DDT, in the prey they consumed. DDT is now banned in many countries.

Visitors can identify Captain Marvel by her brighter beak and her head, which has more brown plumage compared to the other two bald eagles, as she is still a juvenile. Her head feathers should turn completely white in the next year or two, according to the zoo. Adult bald eagles have white heads and tails with dark brown bodies and wings.

Eagles’ life spans are 30 years or more, according to the zoo. Carter said the three in the American Grasslands habitat will remain at the Detroit Zoo for the rest of their lives.

The Old English word “balde,” meaning white, references the distinctive feathers on bald eagles’ heads and tails. The birds use their feathers for balance — if they lose a feather on one wing, they will shed a matching feather on the opposite wing.

According to the zoo, DZS staff collects the molted bald eagle feathers and provides them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be distributed to Native Americans for use in religious ceremonies.

The Detroit Zoo is located at 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, west of Woodward Avenue.

For more information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit www.detroitzoo.org.