UPDATE: The moderators at EagleCam have decided to remove the eaglets to safer quarters:
DGIF biologists have decided that it is in the best interest of the eaglets to remove them from the nest and relocate them to the Wildlife Center of Virginia. The removal operation will take place at 10 a.m. JAC: The removal appears to be taking place now according to one commenter: 9:15 EST.
These biologists are the best judges of what to do, for they have experience about what happens to single-parented eagles. In one hour you can see the removal live. It will be a sad occasion for us, and, perhaps, even sadder for the father, who will be returning to the nest with food, only to find that his offspring have disappeared. If animals can feel sadness, this would be the time.
Thanks to all for watching EagleCam and checking in here. I’ll try to find a replacement; one FalconCam looks propitious.
A number of readers have posted comments about the death of the female eagle at EagleCam. She was hit by a plane landing at Norfolk International Airport early this morning, and was apparently carrying a fish back to the nest.
The father eagle is still feeding the young, but it’s not certain that a single parent can supply their needs. The Fish and Wildlife folks will decide tomorrow morning whether to remove the eaglets and raise them by hand, let the father continue to feed them, or perhaps farm the eaglets out to “foster nests” that already contain eagle chicks.
I’m deeply saddened by this, as I’m sure most of us are who have spent so much time watching this pair produce eggs and chicks. It’s hard, too, not to anthropomorphize the situation and wonder if the male misses his mate (they’d been together for several years). As for me, I can’t yet bear to look at the site, so what I’m reporting is what readers have told me.
Nature is red in tooth and claw, and at least the mother was spared the slow and painful death that befalls most animals in the wild. But somehow an airplane doesn’t seem fair.