Orphaned Bangor eagles learning to fly, could be released soon

Two eaglets at Avian Haven, a bird rehabilitation facility in Freedom, could be released in a matter of weeks.
Courtesy of Avian Haven
Two eaglets at Avian Haven, a bird rehabilitation facility in Freedom, could be released in a matter of weeks.
Posted Aug. 01, 2014, at 1:10 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 01, 2014, at 3:40 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The two young eagles that lost their father to an electric shock and nearly lost their mother to illness could be just weeks away from their release, according to the people rearing the eaglets in the absence of their parents.

The Kenduskeag Avenue eaglets are becoming stronger fliers and likely will be moved into a larger “flyway” pen over the weekend, according to Marc Payne, owner of Avian Haven in Freedom. The flyway, part of the Large Raptor Compound, allows the eagles to fly in a 160-foot loop to build their strength.

“They’re getting a nice variety of food, from fish to deer that were hit by cars and donated by the sheriff’s department,” Payne said.

The eaglets are becoming good fliers, but the landing can be a challenge.

“They’re still working on their coordination,” Payne said.

The eaglets are trying to learn how to perch properly, but sometimes they miss the branch or lose their balance and tumble to the ground. Their wings do a good job of breaking the fall, he added.

For the past few weeks, the eaglets have been sharing a large habitat with five other eagles, including one adult male that is meant to serve as a role model.

“We want them to grow up being real eagles,” Payne said.

When the eaglets are ready for their release, Avian Haven will consult with a state eagle biologist to determine the best place and time to set them loose. It will need to be in a spot where there isn’t already a nesting pair, according to Payne.

It’s likely the siblings will go their separate ways after their release and seek a suitable habitat on their own, Payne said. That could be in the Bangor area, elsewhere in Maine or somewhere else out of state, depending on what food supplies are like and what other eagles are established in the area.

The eaglets were rescued from their nest along Kenduskeag Avenue in May, one day after their mother was found struggling on the sidewalk, suffering from toxin poisoning. Hours later, their father was killed when it struck a power line. The eaglets were believed to be about six weeks old at the time.

Avian Haven took in the eaglets and their mother. The mother was released in early June and has found a new mate.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter @nmccrea213

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