Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Kennebec Journal Staff
A bald eagle rescued by game wardens in Litchfield on Wednesday is recuperating and could be released in the coming days.
Staff photo by Andy Molloy RAPTOR RESCUE: Gardiner firefighter Dan Freeman, left, and Game Warden Steve Allarie carry a Bald Eagle to a crate Wednesday night after two of the raptors become entangled on a tree while brawling in Litchfield. The warden and firefighters from Litchfield and Gardiner were preparing to climb up and remove the birds when they broke free. One eagle flew away and the authorities rescued the other following a foot chase through the woods after it fell to the ground. Allarie said eagle is being evaluated at Avian Haven in Freedom for injuries sustained during the fight and appears to be doing well. The banded bird will be released upon recovery, he stated. "The bird is getting its strength back," he said. "I'm fairly confident we'll be releasing it back into the wild."
The female bird, which had become entwined in a death grip with another eagle 40 feet up in a tree, was identified by a band from 2004, according to District Game Warden Steve Allarie. The 8-year-old eagle came from a nest in Winslow at the time it was banded, he said.
Allarie said the bird is recovering at Avian Haven in Freedom.
"It had multiple lacerations on its legs and on its chest," Allarie said. "We think it can fly, but we want to make sure that once it can land, it can grip. We want the wounds to heal."
Allarie went to the scene Wednesday afternoon about 3:30 after receiving a report of the fighting birds. The eagles didn't let go of each other for more than an hour. The death grip relented only after a bucket truck was raised.
When the birds snapped apart, one flew way and the other fell to the ground. The warden and Gardiner firefighter Dan Freeman chased the eagle through the woods before capturing and crating it.
"What we don't know, the bird being a female, is if the bird had eggs," Allarie said.
"The (state) biologists also don't know if the female was in a territorial dispute, or was protecting a nest."
Allarie said there are two active bald eagle nests in Litchfield.