Amtrak Train Kills Bald Eagle on Tracks
The Chesapeake Bay Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed reports that an Amtrak train killed a bald eagle feeding on a deer carcass on the tracks Thursday morning.
(UPDATE) An Amtrak train bound for Washington D.C. struck and killed a bald eagle Thursday morning, authorities confirmed on Friday.
Leo Miranda-Castro, supervisor of the Chesapeake Bay Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the raptor was feeding on a fresh deer carcass when it was killed.
“The engineer saw it. He blew the whistle. But the train was just too close,” said Miranda-Castro. “One of our officers picked up the dead bird. It was obvious that he was dead because of the train strike.”
Danelle Hunter, of Amtrak media relations, said the southbound train 111 running between New York and Washington D.C. hit the bird at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.
The bird was killed in flight, Miranda-Castro said.
The Bald Eagle, which had been on the federal threatened and endangered species list, has not been considered in jeopardy since Aug. 9, 2007.
These long-lived symbols of America are, however, still protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 that prohibits anyone from owning, selling, importing, exporting or in any way killing, capturing, molesting or disturbing the raptors without a permit, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The two main factors leading to the bald eagle’s recovery were banning the use of the pesticide DDT and habitat protection provided by the Endangered Species Act for nesting sites and important feeding and roost sites, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said.
Miranda-Castro said the bald eagle is actually thriving locally because of the habitat management done at the Aberdeen Proving Ground.
“We have a very healthy population,” Miranda-Castro said. “We have several concentration areas near Aberdeen Proving Ground.”
Still, at this time of year the eagle’s hunting options are slim.
“They basically act as scavengers because many of the shallow waters where they like to go and hunt are frozen,” Miranda-Castro said. “When they see a freshly killed deer, they go for it.”
For more coverage of this bald eagle accident follow the links below to the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post.