Scientists came to the rescue of a baby bald eagle after it was unintentionally kicked from its nest by its parent.
The chick was dozing Monday on one of its parent’s feet when “the parent took off, and it just accidentally knocked the chick out of the nest,” research biologist Peter Sharpe, who supervises the bald eagle restoration project on the Channel Islands in California, told CNN. Sharpe and his group are observing 21 bald eagle nests on the islands this season.
The baby eagle fell somewhere in the range of 10 to 15 feet and landed in a steep crevasse, Sharpe Said. The nest is observed with a camcorder that caught the fluffy youngling’s dramatic fall.
The rescue group arrived Tuesday, and Sharpe with two associates utilized ropes to arrive at the chick, then, at that point, performed a fast health check up before returning the chick to its nest.
Fortunately, the chick doesn’t appear to have suffered any harm from this fall. The baby “doesn’t appear to be harmed,” said Sharpe, and it has “been eating great and resting soundly.” The 3 week old eaglet was hatched April 6.
"*" indicates required fields
This isn’t Sharpe’s first rodeo either. Just last week, the environmentalist returned another fallen baby eagle to its nest, he said. Bald eagles begin to fly somewhere in the range of 10 to 12 weeks old, Sharpe said, then, at that point, enjoy one more month with their parents prior to fully growing out to be completely independent.
When they figure out how to fly, he said, they face dangers beyond falls from the nest such as power lines, cars, shooting and lead harming from scavenging carcasses shot with lead.
For Sharpe, each and every eaglet plays a significant part in the conservation of the species as a whole.
“They’re part of a restoration project that’s been going on for over 40 years,” he said. “A lot of effort has 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.”
Sharpe will get back to the nest in about three weeks to put an identifying band on the baby eagle’s leg, take its measurements and estimate it’s sex, he said.
The bald eagle is the national emblem of the United States of America and is recognized by its brown body, white head, and hooked yellow beak. They can measure about 7 feet wide with their wings out, and an overall size of about 28 – 38 inches, making it one of the largest raptors in the world.
When flying, they can reach speeds of up to 100 mph when diving. Once they capture their prey they then use their beak to pull flesh out before eating it. Eggs can incubate for a little over a month before they hatch. Bald eagles aren’t born with their distinctive brown and white look. Instead, their entire bodies are covered in light gray feathers, and around 3 weeks of age their plumage takes on a brown tone. Finally, at 4 – 5 years of age, they acquire the full color pattern.