On March 5, 2019, a team of the LIFE project “Land for LIFE” found a dead Imperial Eagle under one of the well-known nests of the species in Natura 2000 zone “Sakar”.
The initial assumption that this is one of the birds of the pair that nests in this nest was quickly rejected because the bird was in the sixth plumage (last transient), while the eagles of the pair are fully elderly individuals. The sight of the eagle's body clearly shows pierced wounds in the head and the neck, which highlights the hypothesis that the Imperial Eagle is killed by the pair of eagles living in the area as a result of a conflict for partner or breeding ground.
In order to reject other versions of the death, the bird's remains were sent for study at the Green Balkans Wildlife Rescue Center in Stara Zagora. Experts from the center confirmed that the probable cause of death was stab wounds in the neck and that the bird was female, weighing below normal for the species. In order to rule out the possibility of poisoning, samples for toxicological testing were taken, which were negative.
This is the first case in Bulgaria of an Imperial Eagle killed by other eagles in a fight for nest and territory. Such reactions are interesting behavior, which is extremely difficult to document, and for this reason the scientific literature almost lacks such information.