Double Fledge Didn’t Work: Young Eagle Rescued at USS Irvin

Logo of USS Irvin Bald Eagle Camera

30 June 2022

There was excitement on Sunday 26 June when both eaglets at the USS Irvin bald eagle nest fledged at the same time. The eaglecam showed that when the first bird fledged, it knocked its sibling off the branch. Fortunately the second bird could still be seen on the eaglecam.

By Monday “footage showed multiple failed attempts by the [second] eagle to fly” and expert opinion determined the bird was missing so many key flight feathers that it had to be rescued.

On Monday evening 27 June, a PGC Game Warden and USS employees teamed up to find and rescue the eaglet. See a photo of the rescued eagle and find out how the bird’s sibling helped in Mary Ann Thomas’ Trib Live article: Game warden, U.S. Steel employees rescue bald eagle; bird’s sibling helped rescuers find it.

The article mentions that the eaglet will be unable to fly until next year. That’s because the flight feathers of bald eagles grow on a prescribed schedule rather than immediately upon feather loss.

In their first year of life eaglets grow their original flight feathers while in the nest, then wait until the following year to molt into Basic 1 plumage. The molt begins in the spring of their second calendar year and finishes with the tail feathers in late July–early August. This eaglet will have to wait a year to make its first flight.

(logo from USS Irvin Eaglecam, footage of the Double Fledge embedded from Pix)

5 thoughts on “Double Fledge Didn’t Work: Young Eagle Rescued at USS Irvin

  1. I wonder what the chances are for survival when released in the wild without training from the parents? Hunting, fishing, playing, exploring like 5 is getting now. Any thoughts?

  2. Hi…I’m still wondering how the rescued bird lost so many of its flight feathers. The fall may have caused some of damage. Thanks ?

    1. The news did not explain how the bird lost all of its tail feathers and some of its wing feathers. Perhaps no one knows.

  3. The eagle nest at the USSteel site appears smaller and crowded compared to the much larger eagle nest at the Hays eagle site.

    At Hays, the eaglets were able to more easily”wingersize” without contacting their nest mates. And there were 3 eaglets at Hays that successfully fledged!

    I am curious if the small nest size at USSteel nest could have had anything to do with the premature/accidental fledge when one eaglet was nudged out of the nest by its nest mate during fledge?

    1. Marie, the double-fledging error had nothing to do with the nest. The video shows the two eagles on a branch away from the nest when the first eagle takes off and knocks the second one off the perch. This could happen at Hays too. Thankfully it has not.

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