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Hello Eagle Fans!
It has been a very long day for many of us here at MNDNR and also at the Raptor Center.
As many of you know, the first-hatched eagle chick was struggling and removed from the nest today. The decision to rescue the chick was made by our staff in consultation with Commissioner Landwehr. The bucket truck was in the area and Xcel Energy staff were available and willing to assist with the truck. At about 7:00 pm, the chick was removed from the nest when it appeared it was not stuck on anything. Examination at the nest site revealed enough concern about the chick to bring it to the experts at the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center (TRC).
Initial exam at TRC revealed a serious injury to the right wing and possibly the right leg. The elbow of the chick was severely swollen. The chick will receive treatment and further examinations over the weekend. The prognosis will be made when possible, and the decision on the fate of the eaglet will be made and announced at that time. TRC is permitted for Wildlife Rehabilitation by The State of minnesota and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Minnesota statute 6244 governs the rules regarding wildlife rehabilitation. The purpose of rehab is to return healthy individual animals to the wild. The majority of wild animals in the state are protected by state and federal law, and it is not legal for anyone to possess wild animals for any purpose without a permit from both agencies. Bald Eagles have the additional protection of The Bald and Golden Eagle Act of 1940.
We can alll be grateful for this protection because it helped return many animals from the brink of extinction to flourishing. The bald eagle in Minnesota is a perfect example of this success story. Many years ago, when the bald eagle population was very low, the Minnesota DNR (Nongame Program) provided chicks to other states in order to assist in the recovery efforts around the country. This could not have happened without donations to the Nongame Wildlife Program and the Minnesot DNR's efforts. Conservation of game and nongame animals at the population level is the goal of programs such as ours, and sometimes very difficult and unpopular decisions are made to that end.
Examples of conservation efforts by the Nongame Program include returning peregrine falcons and trumpeter swans to the state. When peregrines were being raised in captivity in order to return them to the wild, only about one in seven chicks survived to fledging. With the same type of efforts, only about one in four trumpeter swan hatchlings lived to reproduce. Growing up is difficult! However, both of these birds and the bald eagle populations are now fully recovered in the state so that they are no longer on the endangered or threatened list and will live on for future generations to enjoy.
We very much appreciate public support we have gotten, and all of the people today who were involved in the rescue of the eagle chick. Thank you Xcel Energy and The Raptor Center! We will keep you all updated on the progress of the chick here and on facebook. Stay tuned!