The Eagle Has Landed, Indoors

Robert Siegel talks with Jean Stack of Ketchican, Alaska. On Monday, a bald eagle made a forced entry into Stack's living room, crashing through a large bay window. The eagle exited the premises after leaving behind a two-foot section of a mostly devoured salmon. A neighbor who witnessed the crash reported that the predator had been fighting with another eagle nearby. The eagle seems to have made a safe escape. A new bay window is being fabricated and has not yet been installed.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

It's been said that the news is always the same; it just happens to different people. Well, try telling that to Jean Stack of Ketchikan, Alaska. On Monday morning, she had an experience that just may be unique, and she joins us from Ketchikan.

I want you to tell us what happened early Monday morning when, I guess, you were lying in bed.

Ms. JEAN STACK: I was--had just got off the phone with my husband, had gone back to bed and just getting relaxed and I heard this tremendous, tremendous crashing sound and I couldn't figure out where it came from. And I jumped out of bed, went to my living room and my living room was covered with glass from one end to the other. And I started walking towards my bay window and I saw a fish. And I thought, `What on earth is that?' And I heard my neighbor just hollering at me, `Are you all right? Are you all right?' And I said, `What on earth happened?' And he said, `An eagle just flew through your window and flew back out and dropped off a fish.'

SIEGEL: The eagle presumably had the fish, I assume. Was it in its beak, or did it...

Ms. STACK: It was probably in its talons. I don't know 'cause I didn't see that part.

SIEGEL: In its talons.

Ms. STACK: But my neighbor said that there were five or six of them out there, you know, fighting around and swooping around, and this one just swooped to my window and crashed through it. And then before I got to the living room, it was gone. And then when I was thinking more clearly, I looked at the fish and it did not have a head and it was just the backbone and the tail. And it was about two and a half feet long, and I think it was probably a king salmon.

SIEGEL: So the eagle--or perhaps the other eagles outside; we don't know who--they were fighting over something, your neighbor said, yes?

Ms. STACK: Exactly, they were.

SIEGEL: Someone had gotten the better of this salmon earlier in the morning.

Ms. STACK: Yes. Yeah. And we do have canneries here in town, and they may have just picked it up, you know, and were swooping around with it. And they--after it happened, they were still outside screaming; I could hear them. So I shut my curtains as fast as I could 'cause I thought they may just come right back through to get that fish.

SIEGEL: And this, I assume, has been the talk of Ketchikan ever since Monday morning.

Ms. STACK: It has.

SIEGEL: Yeah.

Ms. STACK: It absolutely has.

SIEGEL: I mean, has anybody--well, I'm just wondering whether the conversations have all been identical, or whether anyone has said anything particularly witty or insightful about the eagle that flew into your...

Ms. STACK: I'll tell you what, the first interview I did with the Ketchikan Daily News, the person interviewing me would ask me a question and then he'd start to laugh. And I would answer, and he would laugh. And I finally just said, `Just go right ahead and laugh.' I mean, what else can you do?

SIEGEL: And just before I let you go, have you been visited by any state wildlife officers or anyone else, any official person or insurance adjuster or someone or...

Ms. STACK: I have not. No, I haven't. I did call the Fish and Game and let them know what had happened, because I wasn't really sure what kind of procedure you're supposed to follow with an eagle, you know, because...

SIEGEL: It's possible there's no rule for this particular event that's taken place.

Ms. STACK: Right. And but--you know, they are our national bird, so I know I had to do--I thought, `I'd better call them and let them know what happened.'

SIEGEL: Did they laugh?

Ms. STACK: (Laughs) No. Actually, the lady that I talked to was quite startled.

SIEGEL: Well, thank you very much for sharing the story with us, in any case.

Ms. STACK: Yes. OK. Thank you.

SIEGEL: And I hope you have a new window in there soon.

Ms. STACK: I shall. And thank you very much.

SIEGEL: That's Jean Stack, speaking to us from Ketchikan, Alaska, where on Monday morning, an eagle carrying a salmon smashed into her living room bay window.

(Soundbite of music)

(Credits)

MELISSA BLOCK (Host): I'm Melissa Block.

SIEGEL: And I'm Robert Siegel. You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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