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
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.