Bald eagle killed in mid-flight fight in Bremerton

A young bald eagle died Thursday when it collided with a power line while fighting over a fish with another eagle, killing electricity for 80 power customers as well as the bird.

Mel Walters, manager of Puget Sound Energy's avian protection program, said it was a "freak accident" and the eagle wasn't paying attention to its flight path. When investigating the scene, he found both the dead eagle and fish.

Bremerton Police were called at 12:05 p.m. about an eagle that flew into a power line and died in the 600 block of Pleasant Avenue. Police arrived less than 10 minutes later and observed a hole in the chest and neck area of the eagle. Neighbors told police they heard an "explosion" before the power went out, according to Bremerton Police reports.

This is the second power-related eagle mortality in Kitsap County this year, Walters said, but the sixth in the past 10 years. The previous death happened Feb. 12 in Port Orchard, but didn't cause an outage. About 25 percent of bird mortalities lead to outages.

Walters' job is to protect birds from such accidents, installing bird guards and flashers on power lines, and moving osprey nests to safer spots.

Counting smaller birds, there are about 200 avian mortalities per year in Puget Sound Energy's nine counties.

Mortalities typically happen in the first few months of the year, when eagles are in the area feasting on fish in local rivers, Walters said.

Power was out for about an hour, according to Puget Sound Energy.

Bremerton Police transported the eagle to the police station, where a state wildlife officer collected the bird.

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