Passengers did ‘double take’ as massive bald eagle went through airport security

There are plenty of rules we all have to abide by when we go through security at the airport.

You must have the correct amount of liquids in a clear bag and leave out any dangerous sharp objects or explosives (obviously).

However, lots of strange things still make their way to security – such as the multiple cans of baked beans that Brits try to smuggle through.

And, last week, one of the most bizarre things we’ve ever seen pass through an airport security line appeared at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

We’re pretty sure anyone who saw Clark go through the metal detector will have been given a fright – because he’s an utterly massive bald eagle.

Yes, a living, breathing, feather shaking American bald eagle made his way through security at the North Carolina airport accompanied by his handler.

The huge bird left fellow travellers stunned as he was rolled through the metal detector – and he even stretched out his sizeable wings.

Bald eagles can grow up to 3ft in height and have a wingspan of 6.5ft – that’s longer than most men are tall!

In 1963 there were just 417 breeding pairs left in the United States and bald eagles were added to the endangered species list in 1978.

Thankfully, the number has rocketed in the last decade with 316,000 thought to be in the lower 48 states in 2021, according to

Clark was making an appearance at North Carolina’s High Point University apparently to wish the new students luck for their coming studies (bald eagles are the national animal of the US).

In order to return home, Clark flew back to the World Bird Sanctuary in Missouri – and so had to have his bags and pockets checked like everyone else.

“I’m sure the team at CLT Airport Checkpoint A did a double take when they saw a real one earlier this week,” TSA’s Southeast Region noted.

“Our special guest was Clark the Eagle with the World Bird Sanctuary, who decided to give his wings a break and fly commercial.

“His airline notified us and we screened him and his handler. Clark is trained to spread his wings, and even showed off a bit during screening.”

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Clark hatched in 2002 as part of a breeding programme, but was born with deformities to his feet that meant he was unable to be released into the wild as was originally intended.

Now, he lives at the World Bird Sanctuary and is flown across the US to be a “flying ambassador”.

The World Bird Sanctuary sits on 305 acres of forest and provides housing for non-releasable birds as well as a rehabilitation hospital for injured birds of prey.

It runs conservation breeding programmes to ensure the survival of endangered species and runs a series of education programmes.

To find out more about Clark and his wellbeing see;


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