Nature is healing, and it’s just as murderous and bloodthirsty as ever. Today, let’s discuss a common loon who killed a bald eagle by stabbing it straight through the heart. If this is a metaphor, it seems a little heavy-handed.
To be clear, the attack against the eagle was not unprovoked—according to National Geographic, a dead loon chick was found nearby the crime scene.
The issue is that both loons and eagles are highly territorial, and up until recently, there weren’t enough bald eagles around for scientists to witness any skirmishes. But in Maine at least, loons and bald eagles are going head to head, and the results are gruesome.
Despite their ridiculous name, loons are known to be savages, and will go after anything from Canada geese to ducks to other loons. Danielle D’Auria, a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, told NatGeo that a loon will dive underwater, then rocket out “like a torpedo” to stab its opponent. John Cooley, senior biologist with The Loon Preservation Committee in New Hampshire, said he’s seen a loon chest bone “riddled with holes.” Very metal.
Eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007, and since then, their numbers have been growing at a promising rate in New England and across the country. But while loon populations are thriving in some areas, the species is listed as threatened in New Hampshire. Bald eagles, it turns out, have quite an appetite for loon chicks, meaning some recalibration is going to be in order.
Still, seeing loons and eagles duke it out for territory is probably one of the better problems faced by either species, according to Cooley.
“We want natural problems like this to replace the human-caused problems, like lead fishing tackle as a source of mortality,” he said. “You know, we’re living for the day when eagles are the worst thing that loons have to deal with.”