Bald eagle found dead in West Newbury

·3 min read

Aug. 5—WEST NEWBURY — The plot may have thickened in the story of a bald eagle rescued off of River Road last Sunday, after another bald eagle was found dead in the same neighborhood Friday morning.

Wildlife rehabilitator David Taylor brought the rescued bald eagle, found on July 31, to the Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Grafton on Monday and said the bird of prey was suffering from lacerations and abrasions but had no broken bones.

"It could have been in a fight for dominance," he said.

West Newbury police dispatcher Robert Pierce confirmed that a River Road resident found a dead eagle Friday morning.

Taylor was also on the scene Friday and said the dead eagle appeared to have been decomposing for "a couple of days."

"It's a pretty remote area and there are no houses around. Unless there was somebody walking around and happened to see it, it would have gone unnoticed," he said.

Taylor speculated that the deceased eagle could have been in a fight with the rescued bird of prey over the past weekend.

"It could have flown into a branch or telephone wire. But, it was found close to where the live eagle was found and some of the injuries that eagle suffered suggest it may have been in a fight with another eagle. Now that we have a dead eagle in the same area, it lends credibility to the idea there was a battle," he said.

Taylor added Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife had also suggested the rescued eagle was a male, which, he said, are territorial by nature.

"You really don't know what a bird's sex is until you open it up and look at the reproductive organs and you really don't do that when treating one," he said.

Taylor added, if the rescued eagle is releasable, it could be brought back to where it was found so it could be in familiar territory.

"The eagle was pretty lucky there were no broken bones. A bird, no matter what status, can almost never be saved with a broken bone because they have paper-thin bones. It's not like a raccoon that can survive with a limp. A bird needs to fly to survive," he said.

Last Sunday's bald eagle rescue was not the only ornithological police investigation that day.

Newburyport Inspector Dani Sinclair was working an overtime shift on the dispatch desk last Sunday when she received a call about an unusual bird that was on the ground, over by the U.S. Coast Guard station on Water Street.

"It seems like it was just resting there, but the caller said they were concerned about other animals that might try to attack it," she said.

Officer Charles Vorderis was dispatched to take the call Sunday and found an Amesbury husband and wife who had the bird that turned out to be a cockatiel.

"The bird was in the truck with a woman, just sitting there calmly on her shoulder," Vorderis said.

But the cockatiel's real owners needed to be found, so Sinclair put some of Vorderis' pictures of the white, yellow and orange bird with a pink beak up on Facebook.

The Amesbury couple took the cockatiel home and, soon enough, the bird's Londonderry, New Hampshire owner was alerted of the situation.

"We think it went missing on Wednesday and there was a sighting in Hampton along the way. But it ended up down here by Sunday," Sinclair said.

Animal Control officer Kayla Provencher confirmed the ownership of the cockatiel and it was soon reunited with its owner.

Sinclair praised the work of Vorderis, who she said went above and beyond the call of duty last week.

"It's what we do," Vorderis said.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Newburyport for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.