This week, a gorgeous, winged tourist drew attention at a North Carolina airport’s security checkpoint.
The Transportation Security Administration says Clark, a 19-year-old bald eagle, flew through Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Monday. A gorgeous bird flying alongside metal detectors isn’t something you see every day, therefore images and video footage of Clark went viral on social media.
Their special visitor was Clark the Eagle from the World Bird Sanctuary, who chose to take a vacation from flying and travel commercials, stated the TSA Southeast Twitter account, which is handled by TSA regional spokesperson Mark Howell, on Thursday.
They were contacted by his airline, and they screened him and his handler. Clark has been trained to expand his wings and even demonstrated this during the screening.
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. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/SMkQAo65aQ— TSA Southeast (@TSA_Southeast) August 25, 2022
Clark weighs around 712 pounds and has a wingspan of somewhat more than 6 feet, according to his handler Daniel Cone, assistant director of World Bird Sanctuary, on Friday.
Clark and Cone passed through the airport’s security checkpoint on their way home from High Point University’s Convocation Ceremony the day before, according to Cone.
Every year, he flies for High Point University’s graduation, new freshmen, and Veteran’s Day ceremonies. It’s a fantastic experience, Cone said in an email.
Cone has been accompanying Clark to High Point for almost ten years. They’ve known each other even longer.
On August 22, 2022, Clark the Eagle and his handler would have arrived at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
“I have worked with Clark for 16 years now. I started with him when I was 13 (as a volunteer) and he was 3. We kind of grew up together,” Cone said.
Traveler Brings Bald Eagle Through TSA in North Carolina
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED: A traveler took what appeared to be a bald eagle through airport security in Charlotte, NC, where it showed off its large wings. According to local news outlets, TSA was aware ‘Clark the Eagle’ would be arriving for screening.Posted by NowThis on Thursday, 25 August 2022
Each airline has its own rules regarding the transport of animals on commercial flights. Cone said he regularly flies Southwest with Clark and that they are “very grateful” to the airline for accommodating the eagle.
Southwest claimed in a statement that it makes “special accommodations” with select animal organizations, such as the World Bird Sanctuary, to enable animals to travel in-cabin on its flights.
TSA moved Clark into a different line at the Charlotte airport’s security checkpoint on Monday, momentarily taking the eagle from its carrier for a screening apart from the other passengers, according to Howell.