Sad story as I've been watching this eagle family since before the eggs were laid. The news really made me sad.
DECORAH, Iowa --- One of the world-famous Decorah eagles was found dead Sunday morning.
D12, the first of three to hatch in March, was discovered
at the base of a power pole near the nest at the Decorah Fish Hatchery.
The eaglet reportedly was electrocuted.
“These things sometimes do happen,” said Bob Anderson of
the Raptor Resource Project, which operates a streaming video of the
birds. “When they have an eight-foot wing span, it sometimes touches two
Identifying the eagle as D12 wasn’t difficult, Anderson added.
“Everybody around here knows the eagles,” he said. “The
world knows. They follow it so closely they could tell the difference.
Each bird has unique spotting of feathers on its tail, and each bird has
a little bit different color of feathers.”
This is the first known tragedy from the Decorah nest, according to a Facebook post by the Raptor Resource Project.
Nearly 1,700 had commented
just two hours after the death announcement, including one woman, Joann
Blackwell, who wrote: “I feel like a member of my family has passed.”
The site also shared a June 10 photo of D12, whose sex
has not been determined. The body is being turned over to the Department
of Natural Resources.
“We thank all of you for your heartfelt thoughts on this loss,” the Raptor Resource Project wrote.
Alliant Energy has now installed insulation shields on several poles in the area to prevent future problems, Anderson said.
The Decorah eagle cam went viral in 2011. More than
200,000 million people from 184 countries worldwide watched the eagle
family as they built a nest, laid eggs, struggled with bad weather and
other animals and cared for their young, who grew from downy babies to
juvenile predators on the wing, according to the organization’s website.
“It’s one of the largest wildlife education efforts on
planet earth, and people get very attached when they see them hatch and
emerge,” Anderson said.
The parent eagles have produced 14 babies over the last five years, including two the first year and three annually since then.
Anderson said he saw the other two most recent additions — D13 and D14 — on Tuesday, and both are fine.
A satellite transmitter placed on one of last year’s
babies has tracked the bird to Canada, at Polar Bear Provincial Park on
the western shore of the Hudson Bay.
“Who would have ever guessed that an Iowa eagle would spend its summer in the arctic?” Anderson said.
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