Eaglets Continue Recovery After Parents' Rejection
Two eaglets are alert and recovering at a rehabilitation center after their parents failed to resume feeding them in a man-made nest.
Despite herculean efforts to reconstruct a new nest after the original one was blown out of a tree, the eaglets were found to be dehydrated and emaciated after a well-being check Thursday night.
"For whatever reason, the parents weren't feeding the chicks," Flint Creek President and Founder Dawn Keller said.
Keller made the decision to bring the eaglets back to Flint Creek where they are being rehydrated. She said their condition had worsened since they were returned to the newly-constructed nest last Tuesday night after their original nest fell 85 feet to the ground in weekend storms.
She said the parents have been seen consistently in the area, but volunteers monitoring the nest had not seen the parents feed their young in two days.
Keller said the deciding point was when one of the volunteers, who had been watching the nest for several hours, said he had just witnessed one of the parents return to a branch above the nest with a fish and start to eat it.
"(The volunteer said) the eaglets appeared to be very hungry, and tried to climb the trunk to get to the fish, but the parents ignored it," Keller said.
Keller said she didn't know for sure if the parents would resume caring for the eaglets at an alternate nest location. The original nest was destroyed when it fell and a new one was constructed out of conduit and vinyl-coated hardware. Held together with stainless steel cable ties, the new nest, which is 5-foot in diameter, was placed in a nearby tree at about 65 feet, Keller said.
She said a more certain scenario for success is when a chick falls out of the nest and is returned to the original nest.
"When you have to build a new nest, you're not sure if the parents are going to continue to care for the chicks," Keller said. "Then when you have to build a new nest and modify the location, that's even a lesser scenario."
The goal is to release the eaglets back into the wild after they fledge, in other words grow feathers large enough to fly, and would normally be independent from their parents.