Killer Bird Attack: Bald Eagles Kill 54 Sheep in Idaho


Killer Bird Attack: Bald Eagles Kill 54 Sheep in Idaho

A local farmer near Murtaugh Lake Idaho has recently run into some trouble regarding his flock of sheep. What he originally thought was a case of punks shooting his sheep to death turned out to be far more bizarre. Rocky Matthews, the farmer whose sheep have been subjected to random killing, discovered that bald eagles have been attacking his flock resulting in around $7,500 worth of revenue from some 54 dead lambs.

Killer Bird Attack: Bald Eagles Kill 54 Sheep in Idaho
Photo: The Telegraph

Killer Bird Attack: Bald Eagles Kill 54 Sheep in Idaho

The Eagles are not a new player in the party, however. Apparently, a large eagle’s nest has been on Matthew’s property for over 20 years, but no attacks had taken place until recently with Matthews losing 7 animals in just one day due to attacks from the eagles. The nest on his property is known to house at least two adults and at least two baby eaglets and until recently he didn’t think the Eagles were a contributing factor to his loss of sheep.

“They’ve never crossed paths till this year… the damage under the hide is a hundredfold from what you see on the exterior. I truly think he was just honing his skills because you don’t kill seven of them out of need,”

According to representatives from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, this is quite an unusual occurrence as Bald Eagles normally don’t attack farm animals. Instead, eagles tend to sustain themselves mostly on fish, and reports of livestock deaths related to eagles don’t happen in large enough numbers to cause anyone alarm. Matthews thinks that the time it took for the Murtaugh Lake water to warm up and therefore provide few carp for the bald eagles to feed on contributed to them going after his sheep.

Killer Bird Attack: Bald Eagles Kill 54 Sheep in Idaho
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Since this situation was unsustainable for Matthews, he was forced with a tough decision. He could either apply for a Federal Migratory Bird Depredation permit with the US. Fish and Wildlife Service or he could move his own animals away from where the eagles nest was. Killing the eagles is out of the question as they are protected by federal laws which could result in a far greater loss of revenue for him. Matthews decided to move his sheep to another pasture, but this proved to not help much as the eagles chose to start going after the older animals which forced him to sign the paperwork.

If Matthews’ paperwork is approved then he will get paid 75% of the market value of the livestock killed by the eagles. Hopefully, this situation clears up for him soon rather than this being a case of constant loss of livestock for him and his family.

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Luke Cuenco is currently a writer for AllOutdoor who has chosen not to write a short bio at this time.

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