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ME – WILDLIFE – Maine loon killed bald eagle by stabbing its heart, officials say

Maine wildlife officials say a bald eagle died last year after being stabbed through the heart by a loon. The dead bald eagle was found floating face-down on Highland Lake in Bridgton on July 26, 2019. Biologist Danielle D’Auria with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said the the bird had been found with a puncture wound in its chest and, because it is illegal to kill bald eagles, the bird was radiographed at Norway Veterinary Hospital to see if it had been shot. D’Auria said on Monday that the evidence showed no gun residue but indicated that the eagle had been stabbed through the heart by the beak of a loon. The size of the puncture wound was similar to the size of a loon’s bill, and it extended straight to the heart which likely led to a quick death, according to D’Auria. D’Auria believes the loon’s attack was a result of its attempt to protect its chick from the eagle. The chick died in the attack as well. 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, according to D’Auria. The biologist said many adult loons have several healed-over sternal punctures from fights like these.  [full article]

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