published Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Viewers frustrated as baby eagle dies on webcam

This still image from streaming online video provided by Biodiversity Research Institute shows an adult bald eagle, center, feeding a young eaglet on June 25, 2014, in a nest at an undisclosed location along coastal Maine. Webcast viewers saw another eaglet in the nest die over the weekend, when it seemed the parents had abandoned the nest.
This still image from streaming online video provided by Biodiversity Research Institute shows an adult bald eagle, center, feeding a young eaglet on June 25, 2014, in a nest at an undisclosed location along coastal Maine. Webcast viewers saw another eaglet in the nest die over the weekend, when it seemed the parents had abandoned the nest.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

PORTLAND, Maine — Wildlife officials are defending their decision not to intervene before an eaglet featured on a webcam died.

Viewers across the country called and emailed wildlife officials asking them to step in when it seemed that the parents had abandoned the pair of baby bald eagles in a coastal Maine nest. One of the eaglets died over the weekend.

Erynn Call, state raptor specialist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said it's common for eagles to die before reaching maturity. If one of the two eagles survives, then that would be considered a success, she said.

It's also the state's policy not to intervene, she said.

On Wednesday, the webcam showed the survivor getting a meal of a bird that was shredded to pieces by an adult eagle. The eaglet squawked loudly as it snapped up the meal.

The webcam is operated by the Biodiversity Research Institute, which also defended the decision to let nature takes its course.

"The general view is not to intervene," said Patrick Keenan, outreach director. "These are wildlife. They're not pets. They're generally better off in their natural surroundings."

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