Monday, January 11, 2016

In Memory of Bald Eagle HE

Bald Eagle HE was the youngest of three that hatched in the nest at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in 2009, daughter of Bald Eagles Mom and Dad Norfolk. Her egg was laid shortly after midnight on 2/17/2009. She hatched on Wednesday 3/25/2009, after 36 days of incubation. On 4/22/2009, she received purple leg band HE. Here, the letters on her band are just visible:

The three chicks from the Norfolk Botanical Garden nest in 2009.
L-R Dr Bryan Watts with Sunday (HH -- Azalea), Reese Lukei with Saturday (HK), and Stephen Living with Wednesday (HE)
On 6/2/2009, she fell from the nest while hopping and wingercizing. A witness on the ground said she dropped like a rock and at the last minute put out her wings to glide to the ground without injury. She was captured by Reese Lukei and spent the night at his house. The next day, Nuckols Tree Care returned her to the nest. She fledged on 6/8/2009, 75 days after hatching. She was last seen at the Norfolk Botanical Garden on 7/27/2009.

But that's not the end of her story. On 4/26/2011, Mom Norfolk was struck and killed by a plane at the neighboring Norfolk airport, leaving Dad without a mate. On 2/3/2015, it was discovered that HE's father, Dad Norfolk, had taken a new mate -- and it appeared that they were incubating an egg. Photographers tried for months to get a good picture of the mate's leg band. Finally, the new mate was identified as being HE! On 3/12/2015, they were observed feeding a chick. Their one eaglet fledged on 5/29/2015. Dad Norfolk and HE had recently been doing nestorations in preparation for the new nesting season. But it was not to be. Bald Eagle HE was found dead on 1/6/2016.

HE, we will miss you. Fly free with your Mom. May your son have a long and prosperous life! And may Dad Norfolk find a new mate...

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