Warden Rescues Oldest Eagle Ever Documented In Maine — Nearly 34 Years Old!
April 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm by Mark Latti
The resurgence of the bald eagle is one of the department’s more remarkable conservation success stories.
In the early 70’s, bald eagles were endangered and there were less than 30 nesting pairs in Maine. Eagles now are no longer endangered, and it is estimated there are over 900 nesting pairs in Maine.
Every once in a while, we are reminded of both the effort it took to restore the eagle population, as well as the resilience of the bald eagle.
Just last Friday, Maine Game Warden Joe McBrine, who covers a portion of the Downeast area, got a call concerning an injured bald eagle in Trescott TWP.
McBrine, who was at a career fair at the time, asked US Fish and Wildlife Service Officeer Amanda Hardaswick to assist him with the eagle. With a wing span of up to seven feet, bald eagles can be difficult to handle.
With the help of local lobsterman Wayne Jones, McBrine located the eagle along the harbor shore, and McBrine was able to walk right up to it and capture it without any struggle by the eagle.
McBrine needed to transport the eagle to Cherryfield, where he would deliver the bird to a volunteer driver who would transport the eagle the rest of the way to Avian Haven in Freedom.
The eagle had a band on its leg, but it was worn and difficult to read. While preparing to transport, McBrine, cleaned off the tag so it was readable, and submitted the tag number to an online database.
Eagles in the wild generally only live 15-20 years, but amazingly, this bird was banded as a just hatched eaglet in June of 1983, making the eagle nearly 34 years old. It is the oldest eagle ever documented in Maine.
Adding to the story is that it was IFW’s Charlie Todd who banded the eagle on Grand Manaan Island in 1983. At the time, Charlie was the department’s eagle biologist, and for the past five years, Charlie has lead the department’s endangered species program.
Since the eagle was banded, it was only sighted on other time, and that was in Edmunds Township in 1984 when it was a little less than a year old.
The eagle did make it to Avian Haven on Friday, where it is now under the very able care of Marc Payne and Diane Wing.
The eagle is doing well, but has an injury to one of its wings. The cuts on its wing are consistent with a fight with another eagle.
Avian Haven plans to continue to rehabilitate the bird and hopes that they will be able to release the eagle back into the wild in the not too distant future.
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