EagleCam coming back online after injured eaglet taken to Raptor Center

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Update: As of 12:10 p.m. Saturday, the EagleCam is back online.

After a tumultuous few days, a back-and-forth between calls for help and warnings against interfering with nature, an injured EagleCam eaglet is being evaluated by medical experts.

"The chick is at the Raptor Center for treatment right now," the Nongame Wildlife Program wrote on Facebook early Saturday morning. "At first examination, it was determined to have a serious injury to its right wing and leg. The prognosis will be made over the weekend, and the decision on treatment will be made and announced at that time."

The DNR posted an update on its site as well after the rescue. The chick was removed from the nest around 7 p.m., with the help of an Xcel Energy bucket truck, the DNR says. The decision to take the eaglet was made after a preliminary examination "revealed enough concern" to get the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center involved.

The agency's choice to intervene, after originally declining to do so, was quickly praised online.

"Thank you soooooo much for rescuing this sweet baby and giving him/her a fighting chance," wrote one user.

"I know there is always injury and death in nature, but I for one am glad you all stepped in to help out!" wrote another.

The Minnesota DNR's EagleCam, switched off while the agency dealt with the injured youngster, is scheduled to come back online Saturday as well, the program wrote.

The Debate: Help or Stand Back?

Viewers around the world have enjoyed watching the live webstream of the EagleCam. They saw three chicks hatch and grow, until they were approaching their first flight.

But this week one of the chicks was seen struggling to move. The image of the floundering chick was distressing to many EagleCam viewers, but the DNR’s original position was that it would not intervene. Wrote the Nongame Wildlife Program, on its Facebook page:

Hello Eagle Fans,
We are aware that one of the chicks seems to be struggling. As we have stated, this is nature and we will not intervene. ... The possibility of the parents abandoning the nest completely is very strong if humans enter their nest. We do not want to risk total nest failure by rescuing one. We hope the chick is able to break free, and we want the other two to have a fair chance of making it. The female seems to know and may try to help. We will wait and see. Nest death is common to all species of birds.

Next, the DNR turned off the camera to spare eagle lovers from the unsettling scene unfolding in the nest.

But by late Friday evening the DNR appeared to have been persuaded otherwise. It said the eaglet was not stuck, but injured, so the agency mounted a rescue operation.

It has been taken to the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center for treatment.

The DNR on its website writes the goal is to rehab the bird and get it back out into the wild.

The DNR recently posted a video with background on the Eagle Cam and the nest’s inhabitants.

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