Rare look at two eaglets in Monroe County - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Rare look at two eaglets in Monroe County

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An important day at DTE's Monroe Power Plant. Scientists checked in on two eaglets that were hatched on the property this spring. 13abc's Lissa Guyton had a rare opportunity to see the chicks up close as wildlife biologists tested, measured and banded them and it is not a job for the faint hearted.

US Forest Service Research Scientist Teryl Grubb has been scaling trees and reaching into eagle nests for more than 40 years.The tress are often swaying in the wind and the adult eagles are circling the nest, "When the adults fly close to you and you can hear the wind in their wings or one perches in a tree nearby, it is still inspiring." Once he reaches the nest Grubb lowers the chicks down one at a time in a nylon bag. Today, there were two eaglets to check on, "They were both pretty spunky. They obviously were wet and bedraggled from the rain and the female was quite the talker."

Volunteer Biologist Dave Best says one of the most important things to do before starting the tests is wrapping the eaglets talons, "They're lethal, they are sharp like needles." 
The biologists draw blood for a number of tests. They weigh the chicks and measure things like their wing span and beak. They also check their overall health. What the scientists learn from the tests and measurements has a direct link to all of us. Best says they test the birds feathers and take blood samples looking for signs of things like mercury and pesticides, "The eagles are an indicator species for ecosystem health so if the eagles and herring gulls are doing well humans should be doing well too."

Best says these eaglets are about 40 days old and they're in good shape, "They look healthy. They had fresh food in the nest, so they are doing fine." The nest is in a wooded section of an 800 acre wildlife habitat that surrounds the Monroe Power Plant. Kristen LeForce the Wildlife Habitat Coordinator for DTE, "DTE believes in being a good corporate citizen and a good community partner and we are committed to environmental stewardship. We believe in working hard to preserve what we have for future generations."

The eaglets were also banded. The young eagles will stay with their parents through late summer or early fall. The parents will continue to feed them while they learn to fend for themselves. After that comes the real test, they will have to hunt on their own.

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