Eaglet Returns to Nest After Being Rescued From Sticky Situation

One of the eaglets seen on the D.C. eagle cam is safely back in its nest at the National Arboretum a day after its foot got stuck in a gap between branches, prompting a nighttime rescue to free the baby bird.

Thursday afternoon, eaglet DC4’s right leg became stuck in a hole in the nest. After seeing that the eaglet was unable to free itself, the American Eagle Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to send help, said the American Eagle Foundation, which operates the D.C. eagle cam.

The American Eagle Foundation and the U.S. National Arboretum planned the rescue with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Ex-Cel Tree Experts.

"Typically when something goes awry in a wild eagle nest, we don't even know about it and nature simply takes its course," American Eagle Foundation President Al Cecere said. "In this case, however, we could all clearly see how much the eaglet was struggling and how human intervention might make the difference between life and death. We had the power in our hands to help, so that's what we did."

Video of the rescue shows an arborist climbing into the nest and freeing the eaglet from the wall of the nest and putting it in a bag to carry to the ground.

The eaglet was taken to a Maryland zoo where a vet found the eaglet’s leg had swelling and abrasion, but was otherwise OK, said the American Eagle Foundation. A radiograph found no permanent damage.


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The process of rescuing, evaluating and returning the eaglet to its nest took less than 24 hours.

DC4 and its sibling DC5 hatched at the National Arboretum in late March. Their parents, Mr. President and The First Lady, first nested at the arboretum in 2015. The pair has raised five eaglets in the nest.

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