After 14 Years Together, Liberty and Justice, D.C.'s Famous Bald Eagle Couple, Are No More
That's it. Love is dead.
After more than a decade of seemingly blissful monogamy, the country's feathered First Couple appears to be experiencing some domestic turbulence.
WTOP reports that Liberty and Justice, a bald eagle couple that has resided in an oak tree at the D.C. police Academy in Southwest, D.C. for 14 years, separated the Saturday before Valentine's Day.
But that's not where this scandal ends. Spurring rumors of infidelity is the fact that the female Liberty, who laid her first egg of the year on Tuesday, wasted no time replacing Justice. Various reports indicate that the mama-to-be's new mate, a male bald eagle named "Aaron Burrd" by the Earth Conservation Corps, swooped in almost immediately following Justice's mysterious departure.
According to WJLA, witnesses claimed to have seen two bald eagles doing a courtship ritual called "cartwheeling" about a half a mile above the nest on Wednesday. In this high-flying mating dance, the eagles lock talons mid-air, then glide down toward earth, and separate before coming to the ground.
Tommy Lawrence from the Earth Conservation Corps, the organization that runs a popular live-stream of the former couple's nest, told WJLA that he thinks we can all learn a lesson from this aviary drama. "Life happens," he said. "It's like you've got to move on. We'll see what happens."
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It's important to note that a breakup like this is exceedingly rare in bald eagles, which are known to be monogamous breeders. According to LiveScience, more than 95% go throughout their lives without getting a "divorce."
Meanwhile, Aaron Burrd was spotted bearing wounds that could indicate he was in a scrap with another eagle recently. Which means it's quite possible he physically drove Justice from his home.
"That's the natural world for you!" noted Lawrence. "I mean it doesn't take long. If there's a viable male that comes in, then Liberty has to weigh her options."