Mysterious bald eagle death: Raptor stabbed through heart by loon’s beak, experts reveal

Bald eagle fights fox for a rabbitVideo

Bald eagle fights fox for a rabbit

A photographer caught stunning images of a Bald eagle fighting a fox in an incredible midair tussle for a rabbit.

A bald eagle that was found dead floating in a Maine lake last summer suffered an unlikely demise, wildlife experts have revealed.

In a recent blog post on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website, Wildlife Biologist Danielle D’Auria explained that the bird was found near a dead loon chick on Highland Lake in Bridgton. Collected by a game warden, the bird’s carcass was brought to Norway Veterinary Hospital in Norway, Maine for analysis.

Wildlife officials wanted to find out whether the eagle had been shot, but no metal showed up on the radiograph. But they did find an unusual puncture wound on the bird’s chest.


“This puncture wound could have been due to an adult loon’s beak as a result of its attempt to protect its chick from the eagle,” explained D’Auria in the blog post. “A loon’s best weapon is its dagger-like bill, and it will often attack adversary loons by coming up from beneath the water’s surface with its bill straight towards the other loon’s sternum, or chest. Many adult loons have several healed-over sternal punctures from fights like these.”

Staff Photo by Herb Swanson, Friday, September 19, 2003: A bald eagle flies over the harbor on Monhegan Island - file photo.

Staff Photo by Herb Swanson, Friday, September 19, 2003: A bald eagle flies over the harbor on Monhegan Island – file photo.
(Photo by Herb Swanson/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Bald eagles were removed from the federal list of endangered and threatened species in 2007. The iconic birds are now flourishing across America, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 2018, the Associated Press reported that Maine’s bald eagle population had surged to 733 pairs, a 16 percent increase over a study conducted in 2013.


In Ohio, officials recently reported that the state’s bald eagle population has soared by 151 percent since the last statewide headcount in 2012. Data released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources revealed that this year’s survey found 707 bald eagle nests, up from 281 in 2012.


Earlier this month, an injured bald eagle was rescued from an interstate in California.

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and Wendy Layne contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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