Double-headed eagles are a common theme on royal crests, having represented everything from the Byzantine emperors to the Russian Empire.
But as wildlife officers in Loudoun County, Va., now know, the regal caricature doesn't represent the reality all that well. Animal services found two bald eagles that had become entangled with one another in a parking lot there earlier this month.
They look less regal and more perturbed. Kind of like the animal equivalent of the "get along shirt."
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Fortunately, reports WJLA, one of the eagles has recovered fully and been released. The other is expected to be fully healed in the near future.
According to the American Eagle Foundation, eagles have been known to lock talons on occasion, particularly when fighting.
While the exact circumstances surrounding these two birds of prey are not available, mating eagles specifically have been known to engage in a practice called "cartwheeling," wherein potential mates lock talons, then tumble to the earth at a high speed. They disengage from one another at the last moment and fly off.
According to National Geographic, bald eagles were once considered an endangered species, but they have "rebounded significantly" and are now classified as "threatened." The animals are particularly sensitive to toxins that collect in fish, which constitute much of their diet.