Last Monday in April, the 3-week-old baby bald eagle was sleeping on one of its parents’ feet when “the parent took off, and it just accidentally knocked the chick out of the nest,” according to research ecologist Peter Sharpe. This eaglet was hatched on April 6. Sharpe and his team of ecologists are continuously monitoring 21 bald eagle nests on the islands.

The ecologist was monitoring the nest with a video camera that captured the eaglet’s sudden fall. The chick fell between 10 and 15 feet from the nest and landed in a steep gully. Without any hesitation, the rescue team of ecologists arrived on the spot Tuesday. Sharpe and two members of his team used ropes to reach the spot where the chick landed. After rescuing the eaglet, they performed a quick health check to make sure the eaglet is in a good condition before returning it to its nest.

 

Fortunately, the baby bald eagle doesn’t seem to have suffered any harm from its fall. The chick “doesn’t seem injured,” said Sharpe, “it has been eating well and sleeping well.”

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This rescue mission is not new for Sharpe and his team. Just a week before this rescue mission, Sharpe and his team returned another fallen eaglet to its nest.

“Bald eagles start to fly between 10 and 12 weeks old,” Sharpe explained. After that, they spend another month with their parents before becoming fully independent. After the bald eagles learn to fly, they face threats beyond falls from the nest: cars, power lines, etc.

 

According to Sharpe, every eaglet plays a significant role in the conservation of the entire species.

“They’re part of a restoration project that’s been going on for over 40 years,” he said. “A lot of effort’s been put into restoring the eagles. The loss of one chick in a season can have quite a big impact. We’re just trying to maximize the number of chicks that reach maturity.”

 

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