Mr. America finds new home at Detroit Zoo

Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Joanne Lange, left, wrapped Mr. America's amputated wing as her husband, Angel, held the bird April 21. The bald eagle, which was found injured in Dubois County, has found a new home at the Detroit Zoo.


VINCENNES — A bald eagle that was injured in Huntingburg and eventually had a wing amputated because of its injuries has found a new home at the Detroit Zoo.

Affectionately named Mr. America, the eagle spent the past six months in Vincennes with wildlife rescuer Robert “Angel” Lange.

A conservation officer brought the bird to Lange on April 15 with a badly broken wing. Lange said Mr. America’s wing snapped after the bird flew into a power line.

Federal wildlife officials picked the Detroit Zoo as Mr. America's new home.

The wing was amputated in Lafayette days after his discovery, and Lange spent the rest of his time with Mr. America ensuring that he was eating healthy and watching him play in his yard with some of the other animals under his care.

According to a Herald story that published in June, Lange and his wife, Joanne, needed to wrap the bird’s amputated wing daily and take it for weekly checkups at the veterinarian until the eagle could be placed in a refuge.

“I just spend a lot of time with them,” Lange said of his birds. “You just handle them real easy because they are wild birds and their talons and beaks will tear you up.”

Lange works with birds of prey, white-tailed deer, foxes, coyotes and more at his home in Vincennes. He admitted he gets too attached to the feathery friends he works with — the eagles, hawks and owls. But at the end of the day, getting them back in the wild or at least around more eagles is his biggest goal.

He accomplished that goal with Mr. America, who Lange said left his care completely healthy.

“He’s in there (the Detroit Zoo) with another eagle,” Lange said. “His own kind.”

Lange said he won’t see Mr. America again because he keeps busy with the animals that need his help. He already received a new eaglet Monday — just one day after Mr. America was transported to Detroit.

The new bird also flew into a power line — this time in Cannelburg — and also might require a wing amputation. He’s going to have X-rays taken this afternoon to see how severe the break is.

When reflecting on Mr. America, Lange will always remember one thing.

“That he was an American bird,” he said. “My wife served in the Navy. I served in the Navy. My dad served in the Navy, her dad served in the Navy. It’s a freedom bird and that’s all we live for.”

According to the Associated Press, federal law allows an eagle to remain in a rescuer’s care only 180 days before it must be released or moved to a permanent home. Federal wildlife officials picked the Detroit Zoo.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

More on