The female eagle soaring over Norfolk Botanical Gardens.
(Image by Duane Noblick, 2011, used with permission) Permission Details DMCA
NORFOLK, VA. On Tuesday, April 26, a female American Bald Eagle was struck and killed by an incoming airplane at Norfolk International Airport.
Eagle couple at Norfolk Botanical Gardens
(Image by Joe Forman, 2011, used with permission) Permission Details DMCA
She was one of a pair of American Bald Eagles that nested in the Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG), Norfolk VA, in 2003. They have raised 19 eaglets since then, including three eaglets hatched March 13-17, 2011. Millions of viewers around the world have watched the growth of these eagle families online through the Garden's popular "Eagle Cam" since it was installed in 2006.
The nesting female eagle at Norfolk Botanical Gardens, 2011.
(Image by Duane Noblick 2011, used with permission) Permission Details DMCA
Wildlife biologists at the The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), were concerned that the adult male would not be able to provide sufficient food for the five-week-old eaglets, and determined that the chicks should be removed from the nest. While the male might be able to meet the current needs of the eaglets, as the amount of food they require grows exponentially, the biologists believe that the hunting capacity of even the most capable provider would be exceeded.
A number of options were considered as the VDGIF assessed the situation, including: no intervention, providing supplemental food for the chicks, or separating them for placement in the nests of other eagles.
Three eaglets hatched in March, 2011
(Image by Joe Foreman, 2011, used with permission) Permission Details DMCA
Ultimately, the biologists and the agency eagle expert determined that the most appropriate response would be to remove the eaglets and transport them to The Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV), where they were sent on Wednesday.