Baby bald eagle dies less than 2 days after birth

A baby bald eagle that hatched Wednesday on the campus of a northwest Georgia college has died after less than 48 hours of life.

Berry College announced Friday that the eaglet, labeled "B14," had died overnight after it apparently got too far away from its parents and got too cold. One of the adult eagles at least partly ate the dead offspring, which the college said "is not an uncommon occurrence in many eagle nests."

The college maintains a 24-hour webcast of the nest.

Berry College biology Professor Renee Carlton said observers believe B14 was the first eagle hatched by the female, who is new to a nest where another female successfully hatched a number of eagles. The female is still incubating a second egg expected to hatch any day.

"We believe B14 was the female’s very first offspring and she is very inexperienced," Carlton said. "There are many examples in nature of mothers abandoning their offspring for inexplicable reasons. This an unfortunate reality of nature."

Observers say the same male eagle has been coming to the nest since it was first occupied in 2012. But the female first appeared in 2020. Last year, neither egg hatched and in 2019 both eaglets died before they were a week old, with one falling out of the nest.

The previous female eagle, with a badly damaged left talon, was last seen in the area in late November. Bob Sargent with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources told the Rome News-Tribune he suspects the new female got into a territorial battle with the original female and the original female couldn’t compete, possibly because of the bad talon.

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