Local News

Jordan Lake eaglet fighting to survive after storm tosses nest

Posted May 16, 2014

— One of two bald eaglets that hatched near Jordan Lake last month died when it fell out of its nest during a thunderstorm Thursday night, and the other is fighting to survive.

The injured female eaglet suffered scrapes and dehydration after falling from the 60-foot nest and was taken to Avian and Exotic Animal Care, where veterinarians are keeping her warm, dry and under observation.

“We are not far enough along in the process to know (if she will survive),” Dr. Christine Eckermann-Ross said. “We are very concerned about her.”

She said the eaglet has an injury to her foot, which can be devastating for a bird of prey.

If the bird lives through the next 24 hours, it will be transferred to the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, where it will begin rehabilitation. The center has adult eagles that will foster the little bird and teach it how thrive.

Those caring for the eaglet say they hope to release her back into the wild. But the little bird has a long way to go.

“She cannot even stand up yet. She’s only 6 weeks old. She’s actually starting to grow in her feathers,” said Steve Stone, director of the American Wildlife Refuge, a Raleigh nonprofit organization.

Stone, who is licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Commission as a raptor rescuer and educator, was called by the agency to pick up the eaglet Thursday morning. He said the nest collapsed in the storm, and birds went sliding out. The loss was captured on a live webcam set up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“She had a traumatic night in the storm,” Stone said. “Her talons were cold to the touch.”

If the nest was intact, the eaglet could be returned to it, Stone said. Another nest could be built for the bird, but that doesn’t always work. Her best chance of survival into adulthood is to send her to the foster center, he said.

Eckermann-Ross said it’s common for birds to perish during spring storms, and eagle chicks are especially vulnerable because their nests are large and somewhat exposed. She said it’s important that the bird have limited interaction with humans so she doesn’t lose her natural instincts.

Stone said the mother bird is definitely affected by the loss of her chicks.

“She’s absolutely aware what happened. There’s no doubt,” he said. “How she reacts depends on a few things. If the (birds) rebuild the nest, there’s still a little time and they may lay more eggs.”

Stone said the eaglet rescue is bittersweet. A 47-year-old eagle at American Wildlife Refuge died this week.

“We just lost one,” he said. “Now, we’re helping one.”


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  • "Screen Name-8/20" May 16, 2014

    Praying for the survivor. Heartbreaking one didn't make it.
    (Darn it all Mother Nature!!!)
    Still, thank God for the Earthbound Angels working to save the remaining Eaglet.
    Prayers for the mommy and daddy Eagle who worked hard to bring them this far, probably wondering where their wee ones have gone.

  • redwolfone May 16, 2014

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    And people wonder why republicans can't stand Democrats like this person. After making statements like that, why would anyone want to "work" together to accomplish anything! Its clear that many on the left have a bigoted view of anyone who disagrees with them.

  • Forthe Newssite May 16, 2014
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    Seeing the eaglet being held in human hands.....what big feet he has :) Sure hope he makes it.

  • Mark Hubbard May 16, 2014
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    No spin necessary. Its well established that Republicans like nature just fine unless they need target practice or its in the way or of an oil rig or something along those lines...

  • grammie27 May 16, 2014

    Just breaks my heart! I've been watching these babies since they were just a day or two old. Sure hope this little-e survives and flourishes!

  • beaupeep May 16, 2014

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    Obviously we need more restrictions on where you can build a nest and some storm control legislation. No storms with winds in excess of 15mph. Who needs a 40mph storm anyway!

  • rduwxboy May 16, 2014

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    Our beautiful and majestic national symbol would be extinct if we had chosen to be so awful to follow your advice.

  • Forthe Newssite May 16, 2014
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    under the circumstances I completely agree with trying to save this little eaglet, no harm in it. Hope the little one makes it

  • Edward Anderson May 16, 2014
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  • Michael Lashley May 16, 2014
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    Poor thing