Eaglets land in rehab center
By Linda Girardi For The Herald-News June 15, 2011 4:56PM
The Mooseheart bald eaglets are seen in their temporary outdoor enclosure at the Barrington-based Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation on June 6. The pair have developed enough that their release is being planned. | Courtesy~Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilita
Updated: August 3, 2011 7:50PM
The eaglets rescued from the Mooseheart grounds are enjoying regular meals of fresh fish and putting on weight in the comfort of a temporary home, under the watchful care of wildlife experts.
But the next challenge is to build a special chamber to accommodate the flight needs of the two eaglets.
“They both are eating vigorously without coaxing or hesitation,” said Dawn Keller, executive director and founder of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation.
The 7-week-old eaglets were rescued from the Mooseheart woods.
Mooseheart Child City and School is an unincorporated village between Batavia and North Aurora that was established by the Loyal Order of the Moose for children whose families are unable to care for them.
Mooseheart security staff found strong winds and heavy rain had knocked the eagle family’s original nest out of a pine tree on the northwest corner of the grounds near Randall Road over the Memorial Day weekend. The two eaglets were found uninjured in the nest at the base of the 85-foot tree.
Fearful of predators, Keller and volunteers built a 5-by-5-foot fabricated nest out of stainless steel conduit and predator-safe vinyl cloth. The nest was hoisted 65 feet into the tree and secured with braided steel cable.
After a couple of days, Keller checked on the pair and was immediately concerned when she found they had dramatically lost weight. One was weak and unable to stand on its claws.
The eaglets were taken to the Barrington-based wildlife center, where they were rehydrated and hand-fed small amounts of food to help them recover.
Since then, Keller said, “The eaglets have been eating consistently, gaining weight and seem to be well-acclimated to their temporary outdoor enclosure.”
Keller said they believe the eaglets are a male and female, but that will be confirmed later through DNA testing. “One is larger, and in birds of prey, the female is larger,” she said.
The next challenge for Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation is to accommodate the eaglets in a 100-foot flight chamber with a 15-foot ceiling — twice the size of their current enclosure — to accommodate their flight condition needs.
Donations needed for care
The center is in desperate need of funding to provide the special eagle accommodations.
“We’re trying to put together the funding — obviously this is an unplanned expense for us... This is the first time anyone in the Chicago area has cared for eaglets. No one in the area has a 100-foot flight chamber,” Keller said.
Keller said they would like to have the flight chamber built within the next five weeks.
Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation is accepting donations at 117 S. Cook Street, No. 145, Barrington, IL 60010 or online at www.flintcreekwildlife.org/donations.htm.
The wildlife center also would consider in-kind donations of materials and labor for a quality unit that is professionally constructed by contractors. Call 847-842-8000 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The eaglets’ progress is regularly updated on Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation’s Facebook page.