Two eaglets living in a nest 80 feet above a suburban neighborhood in West Newbury were banded today in an effort to track and collect data about the majestic bird.
Mark Wilson/ Globe Staff
A climber scaled the white pine tree containing the nest and safely sent the eaglets – one at a time – down a tag line in a bag as their parents screeched hundreds of feet above. A gold band fitted around the left leg tracks the eagle for the state; a silver band fitted around the right leg tracks it for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The coded metal bands are used to identify the birds and collect data about them, such as dispersal, migration, behavior, societal structure and survival rates. Many local birders send photographs of the eagles and their bands to the state division, Huckery said.
“There are a lot of people up in that part of the state that have great cameras and can take pictures of the leg bands so we’ll know which band is which and who’s in town,” Huckery said.
Staff members recorded the eaglets’ sexes and ages: One is male, the other is female, and both are about six weeks old, which means they could begin "lofting" off the nest within the next couple of weeks, Huckery said.
“These are city eagles,” Huckery said. “They aren’t Quabbin eagles.''
The eaglets were then lifted back into the nest.
Though a third eaglet died about three days ago due to an undetermined reason, the two remaining eaglets are healthy, bright-eyed and energetic, Huckery said.
The bald eagle is a threatened species under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. It was removed from the federal endangered list in 2007.
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