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1 March 2011 Bald Eagle Predation of a White-Tailed Deer Fawn
Jared F. Duquette, Jerrold L. Belant, Dean E. Beyer, Nathan J. Svoboda, Craig A. Albright
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Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle) is an adaptable predatory bird that commonly captures live prey, but regularly scavenges. Large mammalian prey (e.g., Odocoileus virginianus [White-tailed Deer]) have been observed in Bald Eagle diets, but were considered scavenged. To our knowledge, Bald Eagle predation of a live ungulate has only been reported once, and occurred in Menominee County, MI. In June 2009, we captured and radiocollared a female White-tailed Deer fawn (2.7 kg) in the south-central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The fawn was last radiolocated alive 8 h after release in a short-height (20–30 cm) grassland field along a river approximately 570 m from an eagle nest. Estimated time of mortality of the fawn was 10 h post release. Approximately 27 h post release, 2 legs, >50% fawn hide, and the radiocollar were present in the nest along with 2 eagle nestlings (estimated age 9–10 wks). We believe this was a possible predation event based on the 8-h period between fawn relocations, fawn movement, foraging behavior of the nesting eagles, and presence of the carcass remains and radiocollar in the nest.

Jared F. Duquette, Jerrold L. Belant, Dean E. Beyer, Nathan J. Svoboda, and Craig A. Albright "Bald Eagle Predation of a White-Tailed Deer Fawn," Northeastern Naturalist 18(1), 87-94, (1 March 2011).
Published: 1 March 2011

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