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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Eagle crashes into living room of a Ketchikan home

The Associated Press

KETCHIKAN, Alaska - A bald eagle crashed through a window of a Ketchikan home and landed in the living room, scattering broken glass, feathers and a salmon carcass across the floor.

Homeowner Jean Stack heard the crash and initially wondered if someone had thrown a dead fish through the window.

"I stopped in my tracks and thought, 'Oh my gosh," she said.

But then she heard her neighbor, Kurt Haskin, yelling. He saw the whole thing from his deck.

Haskin had been drinking coffee and watching eagles from his deck shortly before 6 a.m. yesterday. He said one eagle was on his roof, and three more were in a nearby tree. Another pair occupied a tree across an alley.

"They were fighting, thrashing around; there were leaves and limbs (shaking)," Haskin said. "This was all within 50 feet of me, and I was thinking this was pretty cool."

Then one eagle swooped out of the nearby tree, up past Haskin's head, around the eagle on the roof and back behind the tree, said Haskin.

"I didn't notice it was packing a fish when it swooped over me," he said.

The eagle re-emerged and bore down on Stack's bay window, which is about 15 feet off the ground.

"It just grenaded that window," Haskin said. "The window didn't even slow it down."

But the jolt apparently shook the fish and some feathers free. A moment later, the eagle popped out the hole where the window had been.

"It was only about four or five seconds, then it must have gathered its wits and flew back out of there," Haskin said.

Stack was awake in bed when the eagle hit.

"I heard this tremendous noise," Stack said. "I thought, 'What in the world was that?' It was so loud, and I didn't know where it was."

When she reached the living room she found glass from one end of the room to the other. "There was this huge fish carcass right where my dog usually slept," she said. "It didn't have a head. It was at least two feet long - just the back bone and the tail."

There were feathers about eight feet into the room, she said.

When Haskin began calling and asking whether she was OK, Stack went outside and got the story.

"I said, 'There was an eagle in your living room,"' Haskin said. "I just couldn't believe it."

Stack said she was shocked, but soon recovered. The fish carcass went into the garbage, and a new window was on the way for replacement, she said.

Boyd Porter, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Wildlife Conservation Division, was surprised by the incident.

"We have a lot of window strikes by hawks and other birds, but it is unusual for larger birds such as eagles," he said.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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