TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ) – A golden eagle injured in the Upper Peninsula is headed south a bit to be cared for at a raptor center near Traverse City.

Jerry Maynard, who has been taking care of him at the Chocolay Raptor Center, said the bird was found by logger in the woods this week near Mass City, in Ontonagon County.

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Maynard told WWJ’s Beth Fisher it was his first time seeing a golden eagle up close, and it was a great thrill.

“Golden eagles are fairly rare in Michigan, but we checked and checked again and we confirmed that absolutely it’s a golden eagle…We were really excited,” Maynard said. “We’ve handled a few bald eagles, which are now pretty common in the UP, but this is our first golden eagle.”

Maynard said the golden eagle is typically found in the western U.S. and Canada.

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“Although, with recent research — we’ve talked to some bird researchers who said that there’s actually more of them come through Michigan than they thought,” he said.

He said the eagle will have to have an injured toe removed, putting in doubt whether he’ll be able to be released back into the wild.

“If it’s not releasable, my prediction is it will be placed at another raptor center as an exhibition bird,” Maynard said. “It’s a beautiful bird, and golden eagles in Michigan, like I said, are quite rare.”

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They’ve been hand-feeding the eagle, which seems to have a good appetite. Other than the toe, he’s expected to be OK.