September 5, 2014

Eaglet Pair Released Along Banks of Kennebec

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Two Bangor Eaglets, rescued from their treetop nest in May after one parent died and another became ill, were released today along the banks above the Kennebec River earlier today. The released juvenile bald eagles took right to the sky in their new home.

The eaglets were raised at Avian Haven in Freedom until they were ready to be released as full-sized healthy, juvenile birds. Avian Haven is a non-profit, private wildlife rehabilitation facility located in Freedom, Maine. Marc Payne, one of the founders of Avian Haven released one eagle, and Brent Bibles, a professor at Unity College, released the other.

“Fall is one of the best times of year to release young eagles as this is when birds of this age group leave their nest sites and seek out areas of abundant food across the state,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Erynn Call, who specializes in eagles. “The Kennebec River is a known foraging hotspot for eagles, and with less competition for food, it can give young birds a better chance at survival.”

These eaglets were rescued from their nest after the male was killed after flying into an electrical line, and the mother became ill after apparently ingesting some type of toxin. The Eaglet pair was removed from their nest, the ill mother captured and all were transported to Avian Haven. The adult female was successfully treated back to health and released earlier this summer.

The eagles were rescued since they could not care for themselves, as one parent was killed and the other unable to fly. Avian Haven and MDIFW consult on these types of situations and consider removal if eaglets are injured, in danger of becoming accustomed to people, or are threatened by roads or pets.

Generally, eaglets go through a phase in July and August where they may be calling incessantly from the nest, adjacent branches, or on the ground below their nests. Adults spend less and less time with eaglets as they get older to encourage them to become independent, which may appear like abandonment. If left undisturbed, adults will intermittently provide food to the fledglings, even those on the ground. Please contact Avian Haven or MDIFW if you observe an eaglet that may be injured or in trouble.

The current darker coloring of the juvenile birds will slowly transition over the next five years to the recognizable white feathers on the tail and head. Because of newly formed flight feathers and their darker coloring, subadult eagles can appear larger than adults and often are misidentified as golden eagles.

Avian Haven funds their operation through private donations and grants, and receives no state funding. Avian Haven is run by Marc Payne and Diane Winn and is one of the largest rehabilitation practices in New England. To date, nearly 12,000 birds from more than 100 species have been treated at Avian Haven.

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