Eaglets recovering — but need added help to take flight
By Linda Girardi For The Courier-News June 13, 2011 7:24PM
The Mooseheart bald eaglets in their temporary outdoor enclosure at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation on Monday, June 6, 2011. Their physical condition has improved signficantly since removing them from the nest late last week. Photo courtesy of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation
Updated: September 29, 2011 12:53AM
The eaglets rescued from the Mooseheart grounds south of Batavia are enjoying regular meals of fresh fish and putting on weight in the comfort of a temporary home, under the watchful care of wildlife experts.
But the next challenge is to build a special chamber to accommodate the flight needs of the two eaglets.
“They both are eating vigorously without coaxing or hesitation,” said Dawn Keller, executive director and founder of Barrington-based Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation.
The 7-week-old eaglets were rescued from the Mooseheart woods after a storm dislocated their nest and wildlife experts determined that after a couple of days of being placed in a man-made nest, the parents were not feeding their young ones.
Mooseheart security staff had discovered that strong winds and heavy rain over the Memorial Day weekend knocked the eagle family’s original nest out of a pine tree on the northwest corner of the grounds near Randall Road. The two eaglets were found uninjured in the nest at the base of the 85-foot tree.
Fearful of predators, Keller and volunteers built a 5-by-5-foot fabricated nest made of stainless steel conduit and predator-safe vinyl cloth. The nest was hoisted 65 feet into the tree and secured with braided steel cable.
After a couple days, Keller checked on the pair and was immediately concerned when she found they had dramatically lost weight and one in particular was in a weakened condition, unable to stand on its claws. The eaglets were taken to the wildlife center, where they were rehydrated and hand-fed small amounts of food to help them recover.
Since then, Keller said, “The eaglets have been eating consistently, gaining weight and seem to be well-acclimated to their temporary outdoor enclosure.”
Keller said they believe the eaglets are a male and female, but that will be confirmed later through DNA testing. “One is larger; and in birds of prey, the female is larger,” she said.
The next challenge for Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation is to accommodate the eaglets in a 100-foot-long flight chamber with a 15-foot-tall ceiling — twice the size of their current enclosure — to accommodate their flight condition needs.
The center is in desperate need of funding to provide the special eagle accommodations.
“We’re trying to put together the funding — obviously this is an unplanned expense for us,” Keller said. “This is the first time anyone in the Chicago area has cared for eaglets. No one in the area has a 100-foot flight chamber.”
Keller said they would like to have the flight chamber built within the next five weeks. Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation is accepting donations at 117 S. Cook St., No. 145, Barrington, IL 60010, or online via credit card at its website, Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation/donations.htm.
The wildlife center also would consider in-kind donations of materials and labor for a quality unit that is professionally constructed by contractors.
People can call 847-842-8000 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The eaglets’ progress is regularly updated on Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation’s Facebook page.