A wildlife rehabilitation shelter in southeastern New Brunswick encountered a black eagle for the first time.
This bird is common in the southern United States, but is rarely found in Canada.
The species is often found in warmer climates from Central America to South America. But in recent years, birders have occasionally seen black eagles in some areas near the New England and Canada borders.
The bird is now recovering at the Atlantic Wildlife Refuge in Cookeville, New Jersey, 40 miles southeast of Mington.
Wildlife Conservation Director Pam Novak said the arrival of the bird as the first animal of the new year was a surprise. Only a few are seen in the county each year.
“The scenes we see here get a little bit more intense, but you don’t see them every day of course,” he said.
The call came to the wildlife center from the people of Mangton. They spotted the eagle while out on New Year’s Day walking along a fairway near Mountain Woods Golf Course at the north end of town.
Novak said the teens saw the bird trying to fly but were going up and down. They caught him and took him to a wildlife sanctuary.
“This is a very serious eye injury and we are not sure if his eye is still working or if the eye is still there,” he said. “We have to tackle it. We will see it more seriously in the coming days.”
Black vultures often travel in groups with turkey vultures, which have been rare in New Brunswick for the past 30 years and have been popular ever since.
The bird has a bald black head, so parasites do not stick to it when eating dead and decaying animals, while turkey eagles have red heads. Black eagles have a short tail and a stocky, dark general appearance.
A black eagle was last seen off the county’s north coast near Dalhousie. They appear in swamps, fields and other open habitats.
Novak said that although it has become very rare in recent years, it can be seen in offshore areas and other parts of southern Canada.
“They are widening their range as the numbers stabilize due to climate change and food availability,” he said.
“It was almost uncommon to see a turkey vulture when we started working. Now it is a very common thing.”
The bird weighs about two kilograms, resting and receiving treatment at the wildlife center.
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