Eagles enjoy a feast at Allagash coyote bait

Up in the tiny northern Maine town of Allagash, folks live close to nature.

There are plenty of moose in the woods around town, and a thriving bear-hunting business during the season.

Sue Underhill Kelly recently found out that there are quite a few eagles in the area, too.

Kelly said she and her husband, Wade Kelly, have a coyote bait — currently a road-kill deer carcass — that they’ve placed on the frozen St. John River.

The couple set up a trail camera near the bait, and have seen all kinds of critters.

“We’ve got photos of ravens and coyotes, and there was a fisher out there four nights ago,” Sue said on Monday. “But we didn’t get photos of that.”

A bald eagle comes in for a landing next to a deer carcass that was left on the St. John River in Allagash to serve as coyote bait recently. As many as six eagles, including five adults, visited the bait at the same time. (Photo courtesy of Sue Underhill Kelly)

A bald eagle comes in for a landing next to a deer carcass that was left on the St. John River in Allagash to serve as coyote bait recently. As many as six eagles, including five adults, visited the bait at the same time. (Photo courtesy of Sue Underhill Kelly)

On March 11, the camera was put to good use when a large group of bald eagles descended on the bait, which was also being visited by a flock of ravens.

“The day those [photos were taken], there were six bald eagles altogether,” she said. “Five adults and one immature one.”

The photos captured on the Bushnell trail camera are striking, as you can see. Especially cool is the shot of the eagle that’s about to land.

Come winter, you never quite know what you might see trotting down the river, Kelly said.

She explained that the St. John serves as a travel corridor for all kinds of animals, and a feeding lane for some of them.

Bald eagles join a group of ravens feeding on a deer carcass that was left on the St. John River in Allagash to serve as coyote bait recently. As many as six eagles, including five adults, visited the bait at the same time. (Photo courtesy of Sue Underhill Kelly)

Bald eagles join a group of ravens feeding on a deer carcass that was left on the St. John River in Allagash to serve as coyote bait recently. As many as six eagles, including five adults, visited the bait at the same time. (Photo courtesy of Sue Underhill Kelly)

“We’ve moose out there [on the ice], too,” she said. “It’s sort of like a logging road. There’s a lot of sun on that bank, and deer go out there because there’s a lot of feed on that edge.”

Kelly said that the bait was popular for a day or two, but interest has waned recently.

“Here’s one thing I definitely learned: All the animals definitely prefer a fresh kill,” she said. “Even the predators have their favorite foods.”

 

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John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.