Caretakers of the widely followed EagleCam reported one of the eagle chicks was killed last week in flight.
A fledgling known as E1 was apparently killed July 3 after hitting a power line structure near its nest in the metro. Thomas Demma, an amateur photographer who monitors the activity at the nest, reported seeing the lifeless chick, according to the Nongame Wildlife Program of the Department of Natural Resources. Xcel Energy was alerted, and retrieved the chick.
"No one witnessed the event. Her wing caught a loop and she was found hanging," read the blog and e-mail update that went to thousands of EagleCam followers. It added that the chick wasn't electrocuted.
Lori Naumann, who manages the EagleCam program, told the Star Tribune on Monday that there has been an outpouring for E1 and the eagle family on social media. She added that the eagles appeared aware of the loss, too. E2, the second chick this season, flew over the site when E1's carcass was recovered.
E1's fate is unfortunately common for young wildlife. More than half of eagle chicks die in their first year.
A blog post in mid-June announced the chicks' first flights from the nest, and the regimen of instruction from their parents.
"E1, the older and likely female eagle chick took her maiden flight out of the nest this week. It was an admirable sail from the nest, through the trees behind the nest. E2 was clearly surprised by the exit and ran to the other side of the nest to see where its sibling went. …
"Later in the day, E1 came back to the nest to hang around for a while, likely looking for food. As we've mentioned before, during this time, the parents continue to provide food for the chicks, on and off of the nest. They will teach them how to find food on their own, on the ground and in the water. The chicks have lots to learn yet, like how to catch thermals in the wind and soar to amazing heights. They will continue to visit the nest from time to time and may even spend their nights there. The nest will remain their 'safe spot,' at least for a while, until they venture out completely on their own."
Almost 80% of the funding for the Nongame Wildlife Program comes from public donations, and the EagleCam and its popularity are a big draw. It has viewership in nearly 180 countries. This year was the seventh season following an eagle family.