Fight leaves bald eagle wounded in Holmdel, NJ
A fight between three bald eagles in Monmouth County has left one of the majestic raptors badly injured.
Police in Holmdel posted a photo on Facebook and warned people to stay away.
The eagle appears to have a badly wounded leg and may not be able to fly. Animal control tried unsuccessfully to capture the eagle, but police say more attempts will be made.
Eagles will attack one another, often violently, in disputes over territory. They are also preparing to mate, which can lead to even more fights.
The injury to the eagle in Holmdel is consistent with such battles.
Wildlife experts say male blad eagles grapple talon-to-talon, the fights often beginning in the air. Often, the birds become so entwined, they will fall to the ground and keep fighting.
Bald Eagles were rare in New Jersey in the 1960s and 1970s as the heavy use of pesticides caused the population to nearly die out.
The state started a massive conservation effort in the 1980s, and the population has rebounded significantly.
Only two nests were located in 1989. Now, there are nearly 250 nesting pairs.
The success of population restoration efforts is largely to blame for the increase in the number of fighting incidents. Eagles lay claim to large hunting territories, and as the population increases, they will fight for the best food sources.
New Jersey has a raptor rehabilitation and rescue group, the Raptor Trust, which operates out of the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge in Long Hill Township. They have successfully rehabilitated Bald Eagles in the past.
Residents in Holmdel are being asked to keep an eye out for this injured bird. It was last seen in the Canterbury Court area.
If you do see the eagle, leave it alone, and call police at 732-946-4400.