ST. JOSEPH, MO (KQTV/CNN) – One local politician in Missouri got a special patriotic surprise when a bald eagle decided to ignore his training and go exploring. The raptor paid a visit to the councilman’s front yard. The local leader helped him find his way home.
Bird watchers of all sorts have be jealous of the homeowner’s video of an American bald eagle. “Front yard of my house,” said Spanky O’Dell.
Who was this casual ornithologist? None other than city council member O’Dell. “Unbelievable. They are so majestic a bird and they’re so big. I didn’t realize how big eagles are until I saw one sitting there 20 feet from my front door,” he said.
O’Dell says he didn’t know what to think. “He was just looking at me and I was looking at him and I was hoping he didn’t think I was lunch. Because there is something about eagles that when you look at them they look mad,” he said.
Clark the eagle might have been mad, but he was also lost. He was a part of the patriotic festivities during a tribute to veterans night at the St. Joe Mustangs game at nearby Phil Welch Stadium. The event also included plenty of military veterans and even a skydiver bringing in an American flag.
“You see everyone in here wearing their Americana apparel and everyone’s smiling and it’s just a great celebration,” said Ky Turner of the St. Joe Mustangs.
Clark was part of the main event. He was supposed to fly from center field and circle the field a couple times before landing near the pitchers mound. A whistle indicates a command to change directions.
But when it came time for the second whistle to turn him around and head him to the pitchers mound, Clark ignored it and flew out of the stadium and right into O’Dell’s front yard. “He hopped around a little bit and I noticed the straps on his talons and I thought, ‘well, Phil Welch and the Mustangs always have the eagle fly the ball in.’ So I’m thinking it’s got to be from Phil Welch Stadium,” he said.
O’Dell called up the Mustangs and Clark’s handlers immediately came over to pick up with eagle. It was an experience O’Dell says he won’t forget. “Until you see one up close, you have no idea what majestic even means until you see them. And to think that we almost had a turkey as our national bird. We picked the right one,” he said.
Clark the bald eagle actually belongs to a bird sanctuary near St. Louis. They loaned him to the team for the special appearance at the stadium.