One of two bald eagle chicks rescued Sunday from a collapsed nest near East Grand Forks has been euthanized at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center in St. Paul because its injuries were so severe.
The eaglet that was euthanized had suffered “severe trauma” to its elbow, said Julia Ponder, executive director of The Raptor Center.
“As there was no chance the bird would ever have a normally functioning joint, we gently put the chick out of its misery,” Ponder said Tuesday morning in an email.
The other chick’s injuries were “much more minor,” Ponder said, and the bird remains under the care of Raptor Center staff. The eaglet was eating on its own Monday night, “despite a stressful day of travel and being treated at the clinic,” Ponder said.
Both chicks were about 50 to 55 days old, she said.
Local photographer Russell Hons rescued the young eagles Sunday evening after seeing the eaglets on the ground near the spot where the nest had collapsed. He contacted authorities from North Dakota and Minnesota, regional raptor expert Tim Driscoll of Grand Forks and staff members from The Raptor Center, who said they would attempt to treat the eaglets if someone could get them to St. Paul.
Hons took the eaglets to his house on Sunday night and put out a call on social media asking for a volunteer to drive the birds to St. Paul. Lee Mewes, a Grand Forks sheriff’s deputy, had Monday off and delivered the eaglets to St. Paul on Monday afternoon.
While disappointed one of the eaglets was euthanized, Hons said he’s hopeful the second bird will have a brighter future.
“That’s nature, unfortunately, and there’s some things they just can’t fix,” Hons said. “I’m still really happy we were able to do this, and that the one is apparently doing well and hopefully on the road to being brought back to nature.”
Dokken reports on outdoors. Call him at (701) 780-1148, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1148 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.