Maybe it just wanted a private place to eat breakfast. Or maybe it wanted to get an early jump on tax season.
Why else would a mature bald eagle smash through the window of an H&R Block on Newtown Road?
Whatever the case, Harry Patterson Jr., who runs the neighboring Allstate insurance office, was astounded when he arrived to work around 9 a.m.
“I was on the phone with a friend and saw it on the inside ledge,” he said. “I figured it was a stuffed animal. Then it started to move. I couldn’t believe there was a bald eagle in there and I couldn’t believe what I was saying to myself.”
Patterson said the office is closed until the tax season, but a spokesperson for H&R Block acknowledged that the incident happened. The property manager was not available for comment.
Evidently the bird had been on a grassy area between the road and the parking lot of the Newtown Baker Crossing shopping center eating a dead seagull when it decided to take its meal elsewhere.
“I talked to a lady and her son who had been eating next door, and they had seen the bird in the grass and saw it fly away,” Patterson said. “They said they heard a loud bang.”
The eagle smashed through the quarter-inch plate glass, leaving a gaping hole nearly three feet wide and jagged shards all over the floor, yet remarkably appeared to suffer no injuries. There were no signs of blood, and after the bird regained its senses, it flew off out of the same hole in the glass.
Patterson videotaped the bird as it walked along the inside ledge and then recorded its flight to safety.
“Craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Patterson, who has been at the same location since 1998. “A lady once drove into the place next door by accident, but this takes it.”
Wildlife rehabilitator Rochelle Stewart arrived too late to rescue the bird.
“We would have liked to have seen if it had any injuries,” she said. “But it looked like it flew away pretty good.”
Virginia Beach Animal Control officers showed up to confirm that the meal the eagle had been eating was, indeed, a seagull.
The raptor is likely one of a mating pair living along the shoreline of Lake Smith. The lake is just about a mile away as the crow — make that the eagle — flies.
Lee Tolliver, 757-574-6990, firstname.lastname@example.org
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