Despite Eagles being majestic and the patriotic symbol of America, they have a very dirty habit that is causing many to be concerned with the huge rebound in population. Eagles in many populated Northwest states like Oregon, Washington and Alaska have been witnessing their resident eagles picking through their trash and hanging around landfills and garbage dump sites. Usually we associate crows, ravens, and gulls as the garbage experts but seems Bald Eagles are not above a little dumpster diving for a quick meal. So, what is the problem with these “Trash Dragons” picking through leftovers?
One alarming concern is the increasing taste for easy food is causing many Bald Eagles to die or become harmed through the ingestion of plastics and other hazardous material. Clearly the Bald Eagles digestive system is used to breaking down fish and wild animals it preys upon. It is not built to breakdown plastics or other hazardous material which causes the bird of prey to become disoriented, diseased, and even death. Eagles are typically highly skilled and proficient hunters, however the attraction to easy food is too much for them to pass up which over time could cause juvenile eagles to never develop hunting skills to survive.
Another concern is the use of garbage for nest building. Many residents in Seattle Washington have filed numerous complaints with local authority due to Eagles dropping trash all over their property and even within city limits. (Click Here Full Story) What happens is the Eagles are digging through landfills or residential garbage cans and finding material to make their nests. The material they drop on the way finds itself all over yards and housing communities. Also nesting eagles using garbage creates an eyesore that some are taking measures to harass the nesting birds before they take up residency.
Lastly the number of human interactions and attacks from Bald Eagles has risen in the last few years. As they continue to adapt and live in heavily populated areas the threat of humans is not fazing these dangerous birds of prey. In Washington state for example there has been several documented cases where Eagles have attacked humans or become territorial over garbage cans left on the curb or garbage being left in parks or parking lots.
Although bald eagles are no longer listed as endangered, having been removed from the federal list of threatened or endangered animals in 2007, the species is still federally protected. Congress in 1940 passed the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which made it illegal to “pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb” the animals. This however is a grey area lately in the world of Wildlife Management. There are certain cases and circumstances where you are allowed to harass eagles that are becoming a nuisance and Loomacres Wildlife Management has plenty of experience hazing eagles legally!
If you are having issues with Bald Eagles becoming a nuisance and need help with a non-lethal solution, please Click Here and fill out the fields for one of our Wildlife Biologists to contact you shortly.
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