Adorable, fuzzy baby bald eagle found in Juneau backyard

• Nestling likely plucked from nest from adult eagle looking for easy meal • Nonprofit Juneau Raptor Center sends bird to Sitka for further care

A nestling eagle was treated in Juneau by Juneau Raptor Center and flown to Sitka for a full evaluation and continued care. (Courtesy Photo | Kathy Benner)

A nestling eagle was treated in Juneau by Juneau Raptor Center and flown to Sitka for a full evaluation and continued care. (Courtesy Photo | Kathy Benner)

Juneau Raptor Center received a call Thursday morning that doesn’t come every day — a baby bald eagle was found out of its nest and on the ground.

Someone found the nestling bird under a tree in their backyard on Mendenhall Peninsula Road, which is by Fritz Cove in between the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge and Auke Bay. It’s probably just 3 weeks old, Juneau Raptor Center office manager Kathy Benner told the Empire.

“He already had wrapped it in a towel and was kind enough to bring it to my house on North Douglas,” Benner wrote in an email to the Empire. “I took him out to our clinic and examined him and gave him fluids under the skin.”

Benner said when reached by phone that she did not see any other apparent injuries such as puncture wounds on the eagle. Juneau Raptor Center is a nonprofit rehabilitation center for birds of prey in Juneau; they sent the bird by plane to Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka on Thursday afternoon. There, it will receive a full examination and continued care.

A nestling eagle was treated in Juneau by Juneau Raptor Center and flown to Sitka for a full evaluation and continued care. (Courtesy Photo | Kathy Benner)

A nestling eagle was treated in Juneau by Juneau Raptor Center and flown to Sitka for a full evaluation and continued care. (Courtesy Photo | Kathy Benner)

“They have a better facility over there,” Benner said. “They have their own in-house vet, and it’s going to take way more intense hands-on care with that bird, and they have the people to do it. We do what’s best for the birds, and for that baby it was best to send it.”

The bird is too young to be able to care for itself and nestling eagles generally stay in their nests for 10 to 12 weeks. Benner also noted this bird may have had injuries that were not readily apparent.

[New shelter is missing its famous recident]

She said it’s hard to say how long the nestling will require care, when it could be released or if it will be released in the wild until it has a full examination. Alaska Raptor Center’s bird handlers did not return calls Thursday or Friday.

Benner said her best guess of what happened is that the nestling was plucked from its nest by another bald eagle looking for an easy meal and dropped to the ground.

“Eagles raid nests of other birds,” Benner said. “We’ve seen it with great blue herons, with ravens and we’ve seen it with other eagles. I wouldn’t say it’s common, but it does happen.”

What’s less common is that a live nestling was found and treated. Usually, they’re eaten or not found alive.

“I’ve been with the raptor center since ‘99, and this is only the second nestling I’ve taken care of,” Benner said.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


More in News

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. A medical director at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control says the numbers of active COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern are higher than what has been publicly reported in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID-RML via AP
COVID at a glance for Thursday, April 15

These numbers come from reports from the City and Borough of Juneau… Continue reading

Has it always been a police car? (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Thursday, April 15, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

COVID at a glance for Wednesday, April 14

The most recent state and local numbers.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, April 14, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident. On Wednesday, March 24, 2021, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of Ohio that tried to get the U.S. Census Bureau to provide data used for drawing congressional and legislative districts ahead of its planned release. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)
Alaska joins 15 other states in backing Alabama’s challenge to Census privacy tool

The case could go directly to the Supreme Court if appealed.

Has it always been a police car? (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Tuesday, April 13, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This photo shows the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at a pop up vaccinations site the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer)
CDC freeze on Johnson and Johnson vaccine sets clinics scrambling

The odds of being affected are vanishingly rare, but CDC says better safe than sorry.

After over 30 years at 3100 Channel Drive, the Juneau Empire offices are on the move. (Ben Hohenstatt /Juneau Empire File)
The Juneau Empire is on the move

Advertising and editorial staff are moving to Jordan Creek Center.

Most Read