Juvenile eagle, D-98 recovered dead in Maine
by Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager
On July 27th the juvenile male, D-98, was found dead by residents of Little Sebago Lake in Maine. He was banded at six weeks of age along with his two siblings one male and one female at the Duke Farms eagle nest which was broadcast live online.
His body was found floating in the lake by residents who reported the band numbers to the National Bird Banding Lab. We then received the report that he was found dead and were able to contact the finders for more information. Residents of the lake which is NW of Portland, reported seeing him near an active eagle nest located on the lake. The nest had chicks which had fledged in early July. On July 25th residents reported seeing a juvenile with a green band sitting in a tree near a boat house;
“The youngster had been in a small tree next to our boat house for quite a long time when an adult, carrying a fish, swooped in over the folks sunning on the beach and attacked the young bird. It dropped the fish in the process. The adult flew off leaving the fish and the juvenile behind. Thanks to a cell phone photo, we know that the youngster had the band colors of the later retrieved juvenile”.
While we don’t know for certain we can assume that the juvenile’s death was in some part due to injuries that occurred when it was attacked by the adult. It is always sad to report on the death of an eagle especially one that hundred’s of Duke Farms eagle cam viewers watched “grow-up”, but it is the reality of life in the wild. The mortality rate for first year eagles is fairly high as they are still learning to hunt and survive on their own. It is very unusual to receive this much information on the details surrounding an eagles death. D-98 made an approximately 390 mile trip up to Maine. He probably found plenty of food at the lake which is why he was hanging around, but ended up in another eagles territory. Hopefully the remaining two juveniles from the Duke Farms nest have better luck and survive their first year.