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The Capture of Eagle #E50
By Craig Thompson and Brian Conway


March 7, 2001
Some of you may have heard about the blizzard that just hit the northeast. While some folks hated the thought of more snow, those of us trapping eagles were pretty excited. A two day snowstorm means that eagles are stuck in their roosts and unable to hunt. So when the storm clears they come out hungry, looking for food and willing to take chances they might normally avoid.

So when Wednesday morning (March 7) came around and the storm had passed, we were out well before dawn setting traps in the deep snow. Similar to when we caught E47, we spread four sets of traps along the river at spots we regularly saw unbanded, adult eagles hunting.

By 8:00, two adult eagles were in the area checking out our bait. One moved on but the second stayed, obviously interested but unsure about landing. Around 8:30, two crows found the bait and began feeding. Within five minutes, the eagle decided that if the crows were safe he would be too and landed nearby. Many times, crows are our best friends while eagle trapping. Not only are they more willing to check out bait than eagles, they tend to make a loud commotion which attracts eagles to the area, and eagles are more likely to land if other birds are already there. By carefully setting the traps we use, light birds like crows can walk all over them but a heavy bird like an eagle will get caught.

Within minutes of landing, the eagle stepped into one of the traps and was caught. Like the others, it was unbanded so we banded it E50. Unlike the others, this bird was much smaller, with a narrower beak and thinner legs, obviously a male. And a mean one too, it took us almost 90 minutes to take a blood sample and attach the transmitter, and he never stopped fighting the entire time.

Can you use E50's measurements to determine this eagle's sex?

Weight
(kg)

Bill Depth
(mm)

Hallux Length
(mm)

Sex

5.1

32.4

41.2


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