It was another exciting week on The Brothers Islands! We rescued an injured juvenile bald eagle with the help of Jim and Linda from our Milbridge headquarters and the Coast Guard.
On Thursday the 5th of June Jason and I noticed a juvenile bald eagle perched on Western Brothers. After crossing to Western Jason and I quickly walked to the area where we had spotted the eagle and to our surprise he stood still even when we were only 5 to 10 feet away. It became very clear that he was having difficulty either walking or getting into the air. After consulting Sara, one of the Milbridge biologists we decided to leave the bird alone until the morning when a potential rescue could be arranged.
The next morning Jason and I spent several hours searching Western Brothers with no luck until suddenly the juvenile casually flew over the tallest hill on the island. After circling the island gulls began to chase and harass him and it became apparent that he was having difficulty flying. After the gulls got the eagle over the water he began to get closer and closer to the water until a gull dove at him and kicked his back sending him splashing into the water. After about an awkward 150 yard swim the eagle managed to reach the shore and started to dry off.
The eagle glided around the intertidal zone between the Eastern and Western Islands and landed on the rocks where it placed its head against its chest. Once Jim and Linda arrived Jim immediately grabbed a net and began climbing into the intertidal in order to get behind the eagle. The rest of us slowly worked our way to the front side of the bird and just as Linda raised her head and alerted/distracted the eagle Jim was able to get the net around it.
The bird was extremely skinny, put up very little fight and was likely on the verge of hypothermia. Hopefully our efforts were not in vain and this young eagle will be able to successfully hunt on the Maine coastal islands soon.