When Bald Eagles compete for nesting territory, it can be serious business. Most altercations resolve after a brief exchange of posturing and threatening vocalizations, possibly followed by a short, aerial pursuit. Every once in a while though, the birds involved take things a little bit further. Such was the case with two eagles found on the ground in Tulalip, WA on April 11.
When they were found, the eagles were gripping one another strongly in their talons. The Tulalip Fish and Wildlife Agents who responded to the scene had to pry the two birds apart. Both had suffered injuries, but one eagle had definitely gotten the worst of the encounter. She is pictured below, her head feathers still stained pink with blood from several puncture wounds on her head. She is also having difficulty using her left foot, although it does not appear that any bones are broken.
The second bird fared better in the fight, suffering only a few minor cuts and abrasions. She is already being housed in an outdoor enclosure, and may have a fairly short stay in our care. She can be seen in the photo below.
So far, both eagles are doing well in our care. If all continues to go well, they should be headed back to the wild soon, but we will definitely not be releasing them together!