WASHINGTON, DC - FRIDAY UPDATE: With a parting kiss, a tree-climber returned an eaglet to its nest Friday afternoon in the National Arboretum in Washington D.C., a day after its right leg became trapped in nesting material.
DC4, as it is dubbed, was returned about 5:30 p.m. Friday.
A climber wearing an Ex-Cel Tree Experts T-shirt got into the large nest and then hauled the eaglet up from the ground in a bag via rope.
After gently coaxing it out of the bag, he leaned over and give it a quick kiss. As he prepared to head back down the tulip poplar, he lightly shook his finger at the bird, perhaps a warning to stay out of mischief in the future.
The eaglet appeared at one point to scoot closer toward him.
The nest swayed at times in a breeze as he stood up to return the rescued raptor.
You can learn more about the American Eagle Foundation, which operates the camera and keeps an eye on the nest, here.
PREVIOUS FRIDAY STORY: There's good news for the bald eaglet that was rescued from its nest in Washington, DC.
Al Cecere, founder of the American Eagle Foundation, says it's likely the eaglet, called DC4 for now, will be returned to its nest Friday night or Saturday morning.
VIDEO: See the eaglet's rescue
After the climber freed the eaglet and removed it from the nest, it was taken to the Maryland Zoo to be checked out. Cecere said experts determined there were no broken bones, though the trapped leg was swollen and abraded. They believe those issues will eventually heal.
The eaglet was sitting up on its hind legs and had enjoyed a meal of duck, a favorite of wild eagles. It will be given some fish later today.
Cecere said they expect no issues with reintroducing the eaglet to the nest and its parents and sibling.
Original story: April 20, 2017
A wild eaglet was retrieved from a nest in the National Arboretum in Washington DC after its leg became trapped in its nest 80 feet up in the air.
A tree climber gingerly eased into the nest about 8:10 p.m., freed the eaglet, added leaves in the area where the eaglet's right leg had become trapped and then put the baby in a bag. He climbed down to the ground, where experts examined the eaglet's leg.
Its leg does not appear to be seriously injured but a veterinarian will conduct a radiograph Friday just to be sure, according to the American Eagle Foundation. It's hoped the bird can be returned to the nest with its sibling and parents "in a few days," according to a foundation bulletin late Thursday.
The rescue unfolded live on a camera focused on the nest that's operated by the foundation, which is based in Pigeon Forge.
The camera can be viewed here during operating hours.
The parents are named President and First Lady, and they've been tending to the eaglet and sibling since they hatched earlier this spring.
According to Al Cecere, founder of the foundation, authorities had hoped at first to return the eaglet after inspection to the nest Thursday night before a storm arrived.
The rescue was unusual in that humans try to leave wildlife alone to fend and tend for itself.
The eaglet, however, was obviously struggling and its parents had been unable to free it. Experts feared if the baby continued to thrash much longer it could suffer permanent injuries to the right leg.
Cecere said he consulted with federal experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before the extraction was made. He'd also been in contact with the arboretum, where the nest is located.
One of the baby's parents stayed with it Thursday as it struggled. When the tree-climber neared, the parent flew off, coming to a rest nearby.
Cerere, whose organization has worked with notable birds including the bald eagle Challenger, said eaglets are typically flexible with bones that aren't completely formed.
The eaglet is thought to have been trapped two or three hours. The trapped bird was noticed Thursday afternoon, according to Laura Sterbens, director of operations with the foundation.
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