|David Brown's Wildlife Services
12 Hotel Road
Warwick, MA 01378
Tel 978 544 8175
|"Tracking is seeing. Seeing is done with the mind."
Tracking Problem: What went on here?
Bird of the Month: Bald eagle
The site was on a little-used trail in western
Maine in the summer.
- What species were involved?
- Is this a kill site?
- What peculiar behavior typical of the
prey led to this scene?
The solution to this problem is elsewhere
on this website.
With the aid of conservation groups and government
agencies this bird has made a remarkable comeback
from near extinction. Only a few decades ago just a few
colonies of our national symbol were left in the lower
forty-eight. Since then breeding programs have been so
successful that the bald eagle has been removed from
the endangered species list.
One breeding program was conducted at the
protected habitat of Quabbin Reservoir in central
Massachusetts. Here eggs were placed in special
hacking boxes where food was supplied to the new
hatchlings through a tube so that the birds would not
imprint on human handlers. Since then the progeny of
that small but successful reestablishment effort have
spread all over the Northeast and the now adult birds
are breeding on their own.
Bald eagles do not achieve the iconic black and
white (actually brown and white) plumage until their
fourth year. Before then they are dark brown mottled
with various amounts of white. The bird pictured is a first
year juvenile, whose dark brown plumage is often
mistaken for that of a golden eagle, an entirely different
species that lives mostly in the American West.