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Posts Tagged ‘NJ Forest Service’

One Lucky Eaglet!

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Eagle banding team rebuilds eagle nest

by Larissa Smith, Biologist & Volunteer Manager

Bald eagle chick in the nest that was repaired.

On Friday May 13th the eagle banding team met to visit two eagle nests in Cumberland County. The first nest visit went smoothly, two healthy chicks were banded, blood samples and measurements were taken.  The second nest was located on an island out in the salt marsh. As we approached the island we could see that the nest looked somewhat small and it looked like some nesting material had fallen out of the tree.  As we got closer to the nest tree both of the adult eagles appeared and were making their alarm calls (which is normal) when we go out to band an active nest. As Mick Valent, Principal Zoologist with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, prepared to climb the tree we started to look for prey items which we collect at each nest. One of the eagle project volunteers made a sad discovery, the remains of a 4-5 week old eagle chick. We then knew that something had happened to the nest.  As Mick got closer to the nest he told us that there wasn’t a nest and it must have fallen.  But the adults behavior indicated that there was still a live chick. We thought perhaps that the second chick was still alive on the ground, so we started to search.  Mick made his way up to the nest remains and we heard him yell, “there is a chick”.  It was decided that the chick would be brought to the ground  banded and examined. The nest would then be rebuild so that the chick could be put back up into the nest.

Erica Miller a veterinarian from Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research examined the bird. It had a full crop which means that it was being fed.  The only indication of its trial was a sore on the bottom of its foot pad from holding on tight to the remaining nest.

Meanwhile Mick began constructing a new nest base with large branches that were sent up using rope.  Jeremy Webber with the NJ Forest Service is training to climb nest trees and was able to assist in the nest building. Once a base platform was constructed the remaining nesting material was put up on the platform and then tied down so that it wouldn’t slide off the platform. Softer material was sent up in a bag for the final touches.  The chick was then sent back up and placed in his new home.

We estimate that the nest had fallen in the past two weeks.  The chick wouldn’t have been able to hang on much longer especially with any high winds or rain storms.   The nest volunteers went out the next day and reported that the chick was fine and the adults were at the nest.  It may have been Friday the 13th but it was this chicks lucky day!