You might not want to mess with this old bird.
The oldest bald eagle ever documented in the state of Maine was recently rescued, just 16 kilometres away from his Grand Manan Island birthplace.
A lobster fisherman found the bird on a beach in Trescott, Maine. The muddy old tag attached to it revealed the bird was a 34-year-old bald eagle.
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The bald eagle was banded in Grand Manan in 1983, when it was just an eaglet.
"He's done well to survive 34 years," said Mark Latti of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "Strong Canadian blood."
The bird was spotted in 1984 but never again — until now.
The bird was in rough shape when wardens arrived on the scene.
Latti said the bald eagle was probably involved in a territorial fight with another eagle, as the raptors are nesting now and eaglets are expected to hatch in early May.
"He was pretty beat up and had some bite marks on his wing," said Latti, who works in Augusta.
The bird was sent to Avian Haven, a wild bird rehabilitation centre, where there's hope it can be released into the wild.
Past his prime
In the wild, Latti said eagles typically live to be 15 to 20 years.
"You'd think after 34 years you'd gain some type of stature where you wouldn't have to worry," Atti said. "Nature can be cruel sometimes."
When the bird was initially banded more than three decades ago, bald eagles were on the verge of extinction.
Latti said there were about 30 pairs of eagles in the 1970s and a few more in the 1980s.
"To discover this bird over 30 years later still going, lived nearly twice its life expectancy in the wild, is a pretty amazing story," he said.
Latti said the bird reinforces the importance of banding and tagging, giving people a "glimpse into the animal's life, its range and its lifespan."
"He's done well to survive 34 years," he said.