People step in after eagle mom leaves babies

June 3, 2011 (BARRINGTON, Ill.)

The mother never returned after workers repaired the damage.

Dawn Keller of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Barrington is now caring for the baby eaglets. Keller says two bald eagles and two baby eaglets made their home on a tree at Mooseheart Child City and School near Batavia.

She says that over the weekend, the nest with the six-week-old eaglets fell from the tree and that a local photographer noticed the nest down and contacted officials.

"Probably what happened is the nest became so saturated with rain that the supporting structure of the tree just couldn't hold it any longer," said Keller.

Keller and volunteers attempted to reconstruct the nest with conduit hardcloth and stainless steel cable ties and placed the eaglets in it, secured to a tree, in hopes that the bald eagles would return and feed them and they did come back

"We were very hopeful on Wednesday that the parents were going to care for them - unfortunately, what we never saw was the eagles feeding them," said Keller. "One of the theories is that perhaps it was because it wasn't at the top of the tree."

Keller was forced to go back to the tree and remove the malnourished eaglets from the reconstructed nest and place them in her care where she is now hand feeding them.

"They're old enough that they'll actually eat on their own when we provide them food, but they're not quite there yet," said Keller. "Eventually they're going to be released back into the wild"

Keller takes care of thousands of injured and orphaned wildlife annually and says that bald eagles and their off-spring are rare.

"To my knowledge, this is the first time in the Chicago area that a bald eagle's nest has had an eaglet fall and/or have a nest destroyed," said Keller.

The eaglets have lost a great deal of weight and are dehydrated they want to get them back to optimal weight and correct their medical concerns.

Friday evening, Keller and volunteers planned to attempt to place the eaglets in a reconstructed nest inside a secured cage outside the property.

She says the baby eaglets are large, and therefore they need a large cage for them.

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