Maine’s oldest eagle of record is doing well at Avian Haven in Freedom. Avian Haven Director Dianne Winn told NEWS CENTER in an email that the 34-year old eagle which was recovered in April continues to recover.
The bird was found in Trescott Township in early April. It had severe injuries consistent with losing a fight to another eagle. The wounds were described as “fairly serious lacerations along its left wing.” The bird could not fly and experts confirmed that it was further weakened by elevated levels of lead in its system.
Originally dubbed “The Old Man” by rehabilitators, a name change seems to be in order. They are almost certain that the eagle is female.
The bird was of particular interest because it had been banded in June of 1983 by Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologist Charlie Todd.
There was pessimism as the bird was taken to Avian Haven, a wild bird rehabilitation facility in Freedom, which is run by Winn and Marc Payne.
Winn advised NEWS CENTER that they are not surprised that the eagle dropped wing feathers, but they don’t know “whether follicles in the wound area were damaged and therefore, whether she can grow healthy new ones.”
The new longevity holder for Maine eagles is being kept in “Bart’s Place.” It is a facility which was built to house an eagle with similar troubles decades ago. Bart became the official “Maine State Eagle” and was used by Todd in hundreds of appearances to educate the public, particularly about lead poisoning. Bart died in 2014 just short of his 32nd birthday.
Maine had just twenty nesting pair of eagles in 1978. In 2009, there were more than 500 pair and the eagle was removed from Maine’s Threatened Species List.