For millions who enjoyed the raising and fledgling of American bald eagles during the past two years, via webcam stationed at a nest in Decorah, Iowa, the memories were mostly incredible.
But on Sunday morning came the first real bad news: the first Eagle hatched this spring, which recently fledged, was found dead near the base of a power pole.
Bob Anderson, director of the Raptor Research Project, told the Gazette that the eagle "was very probably electrocuted."
RRP posted this statement on its Facebook page:
"We are very sorry to announce that D12 is dead. D12 was found electrocuted at the base of a power pole on a Sunday morning. We notified the power company, who modified the top of that pole on Sunday and several other poles in the area on Monday. As of this morning, they are continuing to identify and modify poles to make them raptor safe."
D12, one of three eagles to have recently fledged, was part of a remarkable eagle family that grew while millions of fans from around the world tuned in to witness hatching, squabbling, feeding, and ultimately fledging. Fans also witnessed some truly amazing parenting skills.
This marks the first known death among 14 eagles that have fledged from the Decorah nest.
On Tuesday, the RRP posted this remembrance:
"We continue to remember how blessed we are with all the successes from the Decorah nest so far, and we will be thankful for all the future successes as well.... This is the first known tragedy from the Decorah nest, and we thank all of you for your heartfelt thoughts on this loss."
-- Image showing D12 on a branch is courtesy of the Raptor Research Project