For Chapter One of this story refer to Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) web page http://eaglecam.tumblr.com.
At 9:55am June 13 I received an urgent phone call from photographer Shelly Fowler telling me that one of the Norfolk Botanical Garden juveniles was in the water in the canal in front of the nest tree and that another photographer, Duane Noblick, had jumped in the canal to rescue the eagle. I was watching the cam at the time and had just seen 3 juveniles and both adults in the nest. See DGIF site for this part of the event.
I rushed to NBG and phoned Lisa Barlow, a licensed raptor rehabilator with whom I have worked for many years. Upon arrival at NBG I was assisted by NBG security guard JC and Shelly in locating the juvenile eagle under some bushes. The eagle made a short run to a denser patch of underbrush where I was able to capture him (Bill Bauer photo). It was the youngest of the three NBG eagles banded NE. He was still soaking wet. Lisa met me at NBG and we gave NE a very close exam and found no injuries (Duane Noblick photo). It is most usually best to get wildlife back in their natural habitat as soon as possible. and Lisa and I determined that NE needed to dry off and rest for a few hours. With the assistance of Scott at NBG, we located a wire cage and placed NE in a windy spot out of public view to rest and dry off (Reese Lukei photo). After another exam by Lisa about 2:45 (Reese Lukei photo), NE was released behind his nest tree but never made it far off the ground (Reese Lukei photo). NE made a couple more trips under the bushes, but was recaptured and we determined it best to let him rest more (Reese Lukei photo) before another attempt to release. Lisa Barlow kept NE overnight for him to eat and rest and will take him to a veternarian this morning for an exam. Plan to release NE at NBG sometime later today. Stay tuned.
Thanks to all of the people who rescued NE and to Lisa and Reese for checking him and making sure he is ok. It would have been such a devastating loss to all of us eagle watchers to lose him. I pray the vet will find him to be fine and he will be right back with his parents and siblings.
These are terrific pictures. They really show just how big these eaglets have grown.
THANKS Duane for saving our baby. Thank you too Reese and Lisa for taking wonderful care of him. NE is very “special” to a lot of us and it horrifies me to think of the outcome if the photographers had not been there.
Reese – I so love the light in your eyes and the smile on your face every time I see you holding an Eagle. The love you have for wildlife shines on you face. Thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do for all of us. Dixie
…just when you thought it was safe? Then again, I guess we should never be complacent with nature.
My dear God!! Shelly, Duane, I am so happy you were there! Way to go Duane for jumping in and saving him. Selflessness of you and I am so glad you did, as is all of the viewers I’m sure. I know he seems like one of your kids too. In nature and without our help, it wouldn’t have made it, most likely, nature is what it is. Whew! close call, too close. Thanks for the play by play reese. I’ve been gone for a bit and came back to this. Ouch, that hurts the heart.
I’ve been waiting for an update…how is NE doing?
Wow! I have been away for awhile and decided to check on the eaglets last night. I am so happy to hear that Shelley and Duane were “in the right place at the right time” and that Duane – bless his heart – rescued NE, without fear of getting slashed and torn! No gloves! And yes, I agree that whenever I see Reese holding an eagle, his whole face lights up! And he isn’t wearing falconer gloves either!!!! You are all a great bunch of people, this eaglet was very lucky thanks to your big hearts and big, well-placed hands!