Loosing Freedom

Freedom means many things to people.  People who know me...those who really know and understand me...realize that "freedom" has always been an integral part of my persona.  To me not having "freedom" is incomprehensible.  Then again, who knew that later in my life, when destiny and the world of Bald Eagles entered the picture, the word would take on a whole new meaning?  

After becoming a member of a Bald Eagle Study Group, in 2013 I learned about a banded female eaglet from MA.  Freedom, the first chick born on Webster Lake in 108 years, was being observed by my friend, Al.  She was "George and Martha's" first eaglet and Al was documenting and studying her every move.

Then, last Tuesday evening I prayed that the word Freedom in the email I read was a mistake.  It was devastating news.  Rather than paraphrase, I am simply sharing various communications I received.  Be advised that the information below is difficult to read, digest and fathom, although it is Mother Nature's way.   

"Freedom Dies, 1st Eaglet of George and Martha...Some sad news about 5 year old Freedom.  Freedom was George and Martha’s first eaglet.

Al H. wrote:  Freedom, the first eagle to be born on the lake in 108 years.  It was recorded as a female by the banding team.  
Freedom was ID’ed on Caswell Island on Bow Lake in NH, and revisited Webster after one year and again after a second year.

Bill D. from Mass Wildlife wrote:  Here’s some interesting history and the ultimate demise of one of our Webster Lake eagle chicks.  Sometimes when eagles mature they seek to take over an existing territory rather than establish one on their own.  This appears to be the case here.
Furthermore,  Bill told me that fights with other eagles were the #1 killer of eagles this past year.  He said that females are trying to move in and take over established territories and drive out the other female.  This is resulting in fights that often lead to serious injuries or death.  They recorded one area where the male was supporting two females each with a nest.

Chris M, from Audubon, just reported the death of a Massachusetts-hatched Bald eagle that was apparently involved in a conflict with another adult eagle in NH.  In Massachusetts, I think the most frequent cause of mortality of adult eagles has now become being killed by another eagle in a territorial conflict.  

2/19       5-yr old BAEA silver 0709-02151 right, orange 7/P left was found alive but injured on ground at 42 Nolls Farm Rd in Auburn, NH (3/4 mi east of Lake Massabesic) with massive skull/head wound, another BAEA reported standing on ground near it, reported to Town of Auburn by local resident Kristin Hakoun, euthanized by Town of Auburn Animal Control officer due to severity of wound (Maria Colby, Wings of Dawn Wildlife Rehab).  No photos available.  Transfer to USFWS pending. 

This report: February 19, 2018 – NH, Rockingham Co., Auburn, 42 Nolls Farm Road, ¾ miles E. of Lake Massabesic.  Found injured on the ground with another adult Bald Eagle standing near it."

Freedom would have turned five in April 2018.  

That evening, when I touched base with my friend, Al, he wrote:

"She was my study case where I had a movie camera on my telescope and analyzed the video and recorded her every move and researched her actions to learn about the behavioral characteristics of eagles in general.  She taught me much of what I know about eagles as her actions generated the questions that directed my research of eagles in general.

Recording Freedom's every action generated a log of more than 100 pages in length."

"And yes, I got an email from Bill D.  It was Freedom, the first eagle to be born on the lake in over 100 years.  She got in a fight and did the locked talons helicopter spin.  Both eagles were found on the ground near each other.   Freedom had a severe skull injury and had to be euthanized.  At 5 years of age, she may have been defending a territory or nest.  It is so sad.  Statistics show that only 20 percent reach age 5.  It is sad that 80% of immature eagles do not make it to the age of five.  Freedom is part of that 80%."

just seeing, saying, and sharing...

Loosing Freedom

with you and those at

Other posts inspired by my friend Al and his studies/observations include:  So They Called Him..., and Hero, The Story That Needs Telling

I want to thank each and every one of my fellow "eagle" friends for permission to publish and disseminate their information and knowledge as well as those who continue to study American Bald Eagles.


eileeninmd said…
Hello, this is sad news. Nature can be cruel. Great shot of the Eagle.

I hope you have a great day and a happy new week ahead!
Angie said…
So sad. I suppose this is one of the "unintended consequences" of the recovery of bald eagles - there are more of them fighting over the same territory.
Rambling Woods said…
Territorial disputes can be sadly deadly and especially with raptors....sad...Michelle
Oh this made me so sad! I will take a more serious look if I ever see two eagles fighting in my area, knowing one might become seriously injured and need to be reported so it could be helped.

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