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    New River Gorge

    National River West Virginia

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NEW RIVER GORGE NATIONAL RIVER - WV

Adult bald eagle over nest with chicks
Before fledging, the two largest eaglets are seen in the nest as a watchful parent flies by.
David Hypes.

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News Release Date: September 28, 2011
Contact: Mark Graham, 304-465-6542.

 

NEW RIVER GORGE NATIONAL RIVER - WV

Bald Eagle Nest Successful for Second Year

New River Gorge National River enjoyed its second successful fledging from the bald eagle nest at Brooks Island this summer.The last of three chicks finally fledged in the second week of June and all five eagles could be observed flying in the gorge this summer. 

Bald Eagle Nest Successful for Second Year

By Elaine Barr, SCA Intern

September 16, 2011 

Two adult and three juvenile Bald Eagles could be seen soaring, diving for prey and perching at their nest in the New River Gorge this summer. These eagles came from the Brooks Island nest in the middle of the New River. 

The current nest at Brooks Island is the first nest ever confirmed at the park and is one of over 20 nests in the state of West Virginia. Observers first noticed nest building activity in the winter of 2010 and that summer two eaglets fledged.

Bald Eagles typically return to the same nest year after year, adding material to it each time they return. As hoped, the breeding pair of adults returned to their nest in the gorge this winter and three chicks hatched in early March.As the chicks grew it became apparent that one was behind in development. This runt was much smaller than the other two chicks and many people were concerned that the smallest eaglet would not survive. 

This discrepancy in size may have been due to the fact that Bald Eagles do not lay all their eggs at the same time. Often there is a difference of a few days, but occasionally a gap of two to three weeks has been reported.  

The two larger eaglets fledged in the last week of May but the runt continued to sit.Diligent observers finally spotted an empty nest in the second week of June. Soon after that the youngest eaglet was seen flying near the nest. This is both exciting and rare; although Bald Eagle clutches commonly range from one to three eggs, successfully fledging three eaglets is very uncommon. The success of this nest is indicative of the healthy ecosystem the park is striving to protect. 

Did You Know?

View of New River at McCreery, WV

The New River was designated an American Heritage River on July 30, 1998. There are currently fourteen American Heritage Rivers in the country.