The symbol of the United States as you all know is the bald eagle. For several decades this mighty bird was near the brink of extinction.

Then the use of DDT, which cause of the demise of the birds’ eggs by thinning the shells to the point they just would not hatch, was eliminated. Alaska was the only place there was still a high number of eagles because DDT was never used there and the state is just so large.

Now comes news the eagle has finally came back from the brink of extinction and exist in good numbers here in the lower 48. Fish and wildlife services in every state have worked hard to bring the bird back and it was taken off the endangered list.

Then this, two bald eagle deaths involving the Lake Shirley nesting pair in Lunenburg have been documented. The adult male member of the pair was observed catching a fish at nearby Hickory Hills Lake and then striking a residential power line as it tried to gain altitude. The impact with the wire and resulting fall caused the bird’s death. This eagle was identified as the male member of the pair based on leg band numbers. It was originally banded as a chick at a nest on the Connecticut River on the Northfield border with Hinsfield, N.H.

One of the two chicks produced at the Lake Shirley nest was picked up by district staff and taken to the Tufts Vet School. An examination showed a small fish hook and attached fish stuck in the bird’s throat. The rotting fish eroded the throat lining, resulting in infections throughout adjacent air sacs. Veterinarians euthanized the eagle.

Both specimens have been given to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent DJ McNamara and will be examined by the Service’s forensics lab in Oregon.

Townsend resident Bill Taubert has been having a great time fishing the Merrimack River. Taubert caught a 15-pound carp, then a 25-pound carp, a dozen pout, a few calico bass and a smallmouth bass all in one outing.

Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife is asking for your help. The public is encouraged to report sightings of turkey broods through August. Reports would consist of the date, town, number of hens seen, number of poults seen and the size of the poults in relation to the size of the hens. Sightings may be reported via In recent days, I have seen three different broods no larger than five poults and a friend saw a hen with a whopping 12 poults. All have been reported and the process is easy.

My last note is about bears. Many hunters think they have to head for Maine, New Hampshire or Canada to get a decent bear. Well the folks at Pennsylvania Fish and Game are asking hunters to think twice about going north and to head to their state instead. Last year hunters harvested 4,168 black bears with many over 700 pounds and reaching Boone and Crocket status or Pope and Young record books. Not to mention this is a whole lot of meat.

Email Bill Biswanger at