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Food Habits of Bald Eagles in Maine

C. S. Todd, L. S. Young, R. B. Owen, Jr. and F. J. Gramlich
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Jul., 1982), pp. 636-645
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3808554
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3808554
Page Count: 10
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Food Habits of Bald Eagles in Maine
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Abstract

Food remains were collected at 78 different bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) breeding and wintering areas in Maine during 1976-80. Nearly 1,400 prey individuals were identified. Fish comprised 79% of the food items collected in interior Maine. Three species, brown bullhead (Ictalurus nebulosus), white sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and chain pickerel (Esox niger), were favored foods in freshwater habitats. Birds, primarily gulls (Larus spp.) and black ducks (Anas rubripes), comprised 76% of the prey remains from coastal Maine, but seasonal and regional variations were noted. Eagles nesting near coastal estuaries relied more on fish; those on offshore islands fed largely on colonial nesting seabirds. Waterfowl (Anatidae) were a primary food source (24% of all food items) for eagles wintering in coastal Maine. The importance of fish was often under-rated in food debris collections and should be qualified by comparisons with observations or collections of fresh foods.

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