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The drivers on Route 9 must have gotten quite a thrill that day as a very large young eagle walked the center line this past summer. A warden was called and rounded her up, no small task. She was brought to Acadia Wildlife and examined. We decided that she had probably just fledged, couldn’t fly very well, had wings the size of a small plane, and crash landed on the road.  This actually happens a lot.  Fledgling eagles are fully the size of an adult, although you can tell that their feathers are brand new, and when they try to become airborne for the first time, it often ends badly. It seemed that she was a bit concussed. We set her up in an extra-large dog crate and let her rest and eat.  We did not know where her nest was, if she had other siblings, or if the parents would hang around while she got better. We decided to keep her and let our four-year-old non-releasable male teach her manners.

Female raptors are always bigger as adults than males, and this girl was no exception.  She towered over our male, but he was not impressed, and he was definitely the boss of the flight cage.  We have a 30-foot cage which is only a flap or two for an eagle, but she gradually gained strength and muscle and was ready to go. Young-of-the-year eaglets do not spend much time with their parents, but rather group up with others their age and watch each other find food. They do catch live fish, ducks, and occasional gulls, but are also scavengers, keeping their eyes out for some tasty dead things.  After several weeks we let her go on a large lake, where we knew there were other juveniles, and she flew like the wind.