It’s a rough year for one of the island’s flying scavengers, the bald eagle.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bird biologist Robin Corcoran responds to reports of injured eagles, which she says travel to Kodiak from the Kenai Peninsula in January and stay till around this time. While here, they tend to get hurt along the docks downtown while trying to grab fish from boats and processors.
After a few years of plenty, the eagles are seeing a shortage in food. That’s what Corcoran guesses is behind the uptick in the number of eagle deaths.
Corcoran believes a poor fishing season has contributed to a high number of injured eagles.
“This year I’m seeing just so many birds that have scrapes and bruises, and it’s consistent with that they’re fighting with each other, and just if you drive around town, I look up and I see two or three eagles on somebody’s roof and suddenly they’re fighting.”
This season follows a pretty healthy couple of years for the eagles in 2016, when there were a high number of deer deaths, and 2015, during a significant common murre die-off. Corcoran says that meant lots of food available for eagles to scavenge. According to her numbers, this year there’ve been 18 eagle mortalities and 20 injuries so far.