Bald eagle with purple leg band “HE” was found dead on the ground at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story on the morning of January 6, 2016. Her only injury was to her head. The cause is unknown although likely she flew into something. Here is the known life story of this female bald eagle from Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG) in Norfolk, Virginia.
Her egg was laid in the nest on February 17, 2009 – Photo from NBG/WVEC Live Web Cam
She hatched on March 25, 2009 Seen with older siblings HH (Azalea) and HK – Photo from NBG/WVEC Live Web Cam
She was banded on April 22, 2009 by Dr Bryan Watts, Libby Mojica and Reese Lukei, Jr from The Center of Conservation Biology with USGS band on right leg #679-01344 and purple band HE on left leg. Photo by Reese F Lukei Jr.
During flight practice above her nest on June 2, 2009, HE landed too far on the side of the nest and slowly fell backwards off the nest (caught on live web cam) and landed on the ground. She was rescued by Reese Lukei, Jr and Joe Foreman. She had no injuries and with assistance from Nuckols Tree Care HE was returned to her nest on June 3, 2009. During the return her sibling brother HK fledged (took his first flight) from the nest.
Photo by Reese F Lukei Jr
HE took her first flight on June 8, 2009 and stayed around NBG for about a month learning about being a bald eagle from her parents. Young bald eagles can wander far and wide during their first years and it is not known just where her journey took her. However, on March 17, 2012 she was photographed by Robert Mislan behind Rosemont Forest Elementary School in Virginia Beach with another sub-adult – HE is on the right with wings spread.
HE was photographed again on December 27, 2012 over Honey Bee Golf Course in Virginia Beach by Duane Noblick. Notice the difference in plumage as a result of molting new feathers during the summer months.
The next that was seen of HE was when she showed up in fall 2014 at a nest in Hunt Club Point off Lake Whitehurst in Norfolk, VA which was being constructed by her father who is known as “Dad Norfolk”. Here is a photo of HE taken by Carol Senechal at the nest on May 4, 2015.
HE and her father successfully mated and raised one eaglet (known as Wilson). This is a photo by Reese F Lukei Jr of their offspring taken shortly after it fledged, about one block from its nest on May 30, 2015.
Thank you, Reese.
Feeling the sadness of having WATCHED her life from egg to end, I can only imagine how much harder it was for you, Reese, to have to identify and confirm her death. Such a beautiful legacy of her parents she was!
Now I REALLY wish we knew where Azalea (HH) was and if HK has raised or will raise young with Sterling.
Thanks, Reese for all you do. What a sad duty it must have been to have to ID yet another beautiful eagle. I’ve heard Dad’s already having ladies lining up. Hope to see you soon.
So sad that we have lost another beautiful NBG female.
Dad will go on and he will find yet another mate and we all will watch with great anticipation as his life moves forward once again. Indeed, there is a “plan for everything”, it’s just hard to accept it sometimes. Thank you Reese.
Thank you, Reese, for such a beautiful pictorial of HE’s journey on this earth. I fondly remember all those steps and ups and down she experienced. So sad to hear the news of her death.
Thank you also for all you do for the eagles in our area. Although I live in central Virginia now, I always follow the Norfolk nest. mari1017
Thank you Reese, you are always there for the NBG Eagles, it must be so hard for you, my thoughts go out to you and the loss of HE, fly high with your Momma, she will be waiting and so will Ozzie xxxx
We were given such an educational opportunity when that camera was placed in a tree at NBG. It’s still an ongoing lesson all these years later.
Goodbye HE. Sorry your life was cut short, most likely by your willingness to live in an area dense with human activity. Thankyou for giving Dad Norfolk hope that his life could again return to some sort of of prideful cadence of the seasons (at least for one brief cycle). Thanks for this tribute and recap, Reese.
Thanks Reese for compiling these pictures of HE. This is the first confirmed loss of a NBG offspring. I’m glad she was found so we weren’t all left wondering. I hope Dad Norfolk can find a new mate in time for the new nesting season. Reese, We appreciate all that you do to keep us informed and share pictures of our beloved Eagles.
I remember so well..how nice to walk down memory lane again.. Cam..Azalea..hope you are well and getting ready to start a family..Dad will find a lady..he is quite the catch.. Beautiful photo’s this month in the Garden of Eagles calendar of Dad..HE and Wilson..Thank you Reese ..And Sterling..stop playing hard to get..get busy in that nest..there is more than one pair of lady eagle eye’s looking at HK..
Reese, thank you for all your effort and time keeping us up with good and the bad. One becomes attached after such a drama…