MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A woman and her teenage son are being applauded Sunday night as wildlife heroes. But it didn’t start out that way.

The two were driving in Danbury Wis. last weekend on the way back from their cabin when an eagle eating roadkill took flight. They hit it with their car. The mother, Robbi Tribbey, took instruction from her son, who had learned a thing or two about raptor care years ago.

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Lori Arent is the clinic manager at the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center. The female bird is there. She suffered major internal injuries but is now strong enough to perch.

Arent says it’s all because a mother-son duo handled the situation perfectly.

Robbi Tribbey lives in Superior, Wis. She and her son, Devin, were riding back from their cabin in Wisconsin last week when the animal lover says an eagle came out the brush.

“It hit the hood then went up and over onto the windshield and up and over the Suburban and it landed on the road behind us,” Robbi said.

The bird had been nibbling on a dead deer beside the road and took flight into their large SUV near Danbury, Wis.  Says Tribbey,

“I just kept saying ‘Oh my God,’ it’s an eagle and I couldn’t believe I hit it. I wanted to cry right then and there but it wasn’t the time to do that, it was the time to get out of the car and help this bird,” Robbi said.

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Robbi’s teenager remembered some tips from an elementary school field trip to the U of M’s raptor center.

“I was thinking keep the wings contained and the talons away from you, should be good,” Devin Lindberg said.

And they were. They wrapped the bird in a blanket, a local vet loaned them a cage and Devin gave the bird a name, “America.”

They took her to the raptor center, where she’s getting help and caretakers say “America” was blessed. The rescue strongly affected her survival.

“This is when I get kind of teary-eyee. I’d really, really, really like to see her be released,” she said.

Arent says the clinic will keep treating her and test flight her. If she continues to heal she will likely be released by the St. Croix River.

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Staff at the raptor center says what Robbi and Devin did likely saved America.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield