Banded in June of 1983 as an eaglet in the Canadian Maritimes, a 34-year-old bald eagle was rescued from a beach shore in Hayrock Harbor by a Maine game warden last month. Suffering a laceration to one of its wings, the eagle was captured without a struggle after being spotted by a local lobster fisherman.
After deciphering the number on the eroded band on the bird’s leg, officials were able to browse eagle 629-12255’s history using an online database. To the surprise of officials from both the National Wildlife Service and Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the data pegged the eagle’s age at 34-years-having only been spotted on record one time previously, in 1984.
The injured raptor was taken to Avian Haven, a bird rehabilitation center, where they determined the injuries sustained by the eagle were likely from a fight with a rival eagle. Officials also stated that the bird had a high blood-lead level, which was likely straining its coordination and stamina.
The bird remains in the care of Avian Haven as its caretakers are hopeful that the bird will soon be able to return to the wild. After a stint on the Endangered Species List in the 1970’s, Maine’s bald eagle populations today are thought to be roughly 900 pairs strong.