The eaglet was found in the same nest where a Houston teen shot and killed an adult bald eagle days earlier.
From the Wildlife Center of Texas: “According to the ongoing investigation by state and federal officials, one of the parents was shot and killed by an individual. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested that the eaglet receive an examination, rehydrating fluids and evaluation by WCT’s veterinarian before it was transferred to an off-site location to be with a surrogate parent. WCT would like to remind the public that almost all birds in Texas are federally protected, and that concerns of predatory birds preying upon pets and livestock simply comes down to responsible ownership practices. Since 1782, the bald eagle has been an iconic American symbol. Although the bird has had its fair share of detractors, including Benjamin Franklin, it has proved a truly resilient bird through the centuries. Though many are now familiar with its 1960’s plight with the pesticide DDT, the bald eagle also suffered massive declines in the mid to late 1800’s. During this time people hunted waterfowl and other birds, a food source for eagles, to record lows for the fashion feather trade. While some claim the bird doesn’t deserve the title as our national symbol, the bald eagle has fought through centuries for its existence and prevailed against amazing odds; coming back from only 487 nesting pairs in 1963 to almost 10,000 pairs in 2015! The bald eagle is, in fact, a fitting symbol for the country it represents.”
Wildlife agencies started to monitor the nest after the slaying of the bird of prey. They noticed that its mate returned to the nest, indicating that fledglings may be present.
After closer observation, they also noticed that the mate was not bringing any food to the nest. Alarmed that the fledglings may be endanger, they took action and investigated the nest which was more than 100 feet off the ground.
They discovered a 5-to 6-week old eaglet that was in poor condition. It was taken to the Wildlife Center of Texas where it was fed and given fluids. It will remain there until it’s ready to be released back into the wild.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Orlando David Delgado has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor for hunting without a landowner’s consent and a Class C misdemeanor for taking a threatened species.
Delgado confessed to shooting the eagle with a pellet rifle. He was being held at Harris County jail on a $5,000 bond.
The bald eagle is the national bird and national animal of the United States. It is protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which prohibits commercial trapping and killing of the bird.