Internet followers of eagle cam watch helplessly as eaglet dies in B.C. nest
The smallest of two eaglets in a nest on Hornby Island, B.C., that wildlife enthusiasts have been observing online via a webcam has died after getting caught in its mother's feathers and falling to the ground.
The nest, located on a tree top, has a webcam installed above it. Thousands of visitors to the site that hosts the webcam watched helplessly as the event unfolded around 8 a.m. on Monday, said Karen Bills of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation. The webcam is part of the foundation's efforts to promote the conservation of wild habitats through science and education.
"Something black, we could see, got entwined around the eaglet's left wing [and] upper back," Bills told CBC News Thursday in a telephone interview.
It was a difficult thing to watch as the mother tried so hard to shake loose the 11-day-old eaglet, known as Echo, she said.
"She tried desperately to shake it loose, and the poor little thing is crying," Bills said.
"At one point, she even flew up … and then flew back down into the nest with the baby still attached. Meanwhile, everybody is watching and crying and all upset, and then she tried shaking it loose again. … Finally, she got up and flew off and that is when we saw the little body drop."
The eaglet's body was found underneath the tree where the nest is.
Eulogies pour in
The foundation's website, which has a huge discussion forum on eagle watching, has been inundated with comments about Echo.
"They made a separate thread in the forum called 'Tribute to Echo,' where people have posted pictures and written poems … it shows how much loved he was," Bills said.
The death of the eaglet also impacted some schoolchildren, who began their Monday morning lesson by watching the eagle webcam, she said.
The teachers took the opportunity to explain aspects of nature and life in the wild to their students, she said.
The older eaglet remains in the nest.
The foundation has set up webcams to monitor three nesting pairs of bald eagles on B.C.'s south coast.
Besides the nest on Hornby Island, there is another nest near Sidney on Vancouver Island — which can be watched live on CBC News's B.C. regional website — and one in Delta in Metro Vancouver.