A deadly fight Sunday night may have been the cause of a sad end for a young female bald eagle.
Law enforcement, with the assistance of a South Whidbey veterinarian, responded to a call the night of March 28 of an injured bird near Lone Lake.
David Parent of Useless Bay Animal Clinic was able to catch the eagle to try to help it. He concluded it may have gotten injured while fighting with another eagle. About a week ago, another injured eagle was rescued also near Lone Lake.
To capture the bird, Parent used one of the deputy’s flashlights that had a strobe component.
“It kind of mesmerizes them and they’re easier to catch that way,” he said.
Photos of the encounter show the less-than-pleased eagle wrapped in a big white towel. Parent explained this was done to restrain and comfort the bird.
Unfortunately, X-ray scans determined that the young female bird had a dislocated left shoulder.
“That’s something you can’t fix,” Parent said.
She was euthanized on Monday.
Parent said it is not uncommon for bald eagles, especially females, to engage in deadly combat around this time of year. The birds are getting ready to nest and sometimes have territorial battles in the sky as a result.
“They like to fight,” Parent said. “They’re belligerent, they’re truculent.”
When eagles fight, they lock their talons together and spiral to the ground.
“A lot of people mistake that for courtship behavior, but it’s not,” he said. “It’s not courtship at all, it’s combat.”
Parent said people who witness an eagle fight, especially one resulting in injuries, should call someone for help. The birds’ talons are sharp and can result in injuries to humans who try to touch them. Additionally, he said he is happy to answer any wildlife questions.
This story originally appeared in the Whidbey Neww-Times, a sister publication to The Herald.
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