HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP — A fledgling eaglet injured in its first attempt at flight was rescued, has recovered from its injuries and is back in its nest, according to the New Jersey Conserve Wildlife Foundation.
The youngster was found on the ground by a passer-by May 23 near an eagle nest on a communications tower and transported to Tri-State Bird Research and Rescue in Newark, Delaware, by wildlife rehabilitator Vicki Schmidt. It had minor soft-tissue damage to a wing but was alert and perching, according to CWF biologist Larissa Smith.
New Jersey Eagle Project volunteer Jim McClain monitors the nest and said he last saw the chick there May 19, perched on a tower railing. When he returned on the 23rd and didn’t see the chick, he had assumed it had fledged, Smith said in a CWF blog post.
Young eagles start hopping on branches, flapping, jumping and hovering to strengthen their wings for flight, and they fledge at about 10 to 12 weeks. In this case, the young bird most likely hit an object when attempting to fly. If no one had spotted it on the ground, it could have been taken by a predator or died of other causes, Smith said.
The young eagle was banded and released June 1 near its nest, where it flew and landed on a nearby roof, according to CWF.