Thursday, April 3, 2008

More Bald Eagles in northern Maine

Earlier this week, Ken Lamb sent along this image of a young eagle he photographed near a deer carcass here in northern Maine. Ken noticed the bird was banded and inquired if I knew anything about an eagle banding program in the area.

I didn't.

So I inquired with Charlie Todd, the eagle guru of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife... Charlie responded immediately with the following:

"During a recent study of mercury exposure in Maine eagles, 330 nestling eagles were banded during 2004-2007. All have the same color band scheme so I can't tell you where the bird is from except to say it's from Maine. There is 2-character alphanumeric code on the red color band that would identify it: your photo shows the lower character to be "C" or "O" but the one above it is hidden by feathers ... so there are at least 10 different eagles that it could be. By plumage pattern, it looks like a third-year eagle (= a 2005 nestling) but even then I can't narrow it down to more than a few individuals.

One interesting possibility is the nestling banded at Fourth Debsconeag Lake that year..." (Fourth Debsconeag Lake is located west of Millinocket in Piscataquis county.)

Charlie also sent along a photo of the 2006 eaglet from Portage Lake in Aroostook County that was taken along Lake Erie in western Pennyslvania in that year.

Jimmy Marz's photo clearly shows the alpha code on the color band on the right leg and the aluminum USF&W band on the left.

Checking for bands is something I'll think about the next time I spot a Bald Eagle in the area. Good stuff.

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