When D’Auria heard about the case she had the bird radiographed fro a possible bullet wound as it is illegal in the U.S. to kill bald eagles.
The evidence showed no gun residue but indicated that the big bird had been stabbed through the heart by the beak of a loon.
“We know conflicts between bald eagles and loons have soared in recent years as a result of the recovery of our eagle population,” D’Auria wrote in a blog entry for the state agency. “We are seeing more and more eagle predation on loon chicks and even adult loons.”
The biologist believes the loon’s attack was a result of its attempt to protect its chick from the bird.
D’Auria wrote the evidence is important because it shows an attack that appears to be the first recorded wherein a loon has killed an eagle.
She added, “Who would think a loon would stand a chance against such a powerful predator?”