The effort to reunite two bald eaglets with their parents at Mooseheart this week didn't work out after all, as the parents weren't feeding the babies.
The eagles' nest fell during a storm Sunday. Volunteers and wildlife rehabilitation experts built and installed a new nest and put the eaglets in it Tuesday.
Eagle-watchers initially thought it was a success, as a parent eagle was spotted with eagle feces on its wing -- likely from the eaglets.
But an inspection Thursday revealed otherwise. The rehabilitation team watched all day, but saw no signs of the eagles interacting with or visiting the eaglets. At one point an eagle was seen eating a fish above the eaglets, ignoring the young as they stretched toward it.
The rehabilitation team planned to assess the eaglets' health Friday, but moved it up when a free bucket truck became available Thursday.
"As soon as I saw them, I knew that they hadn't been fed," said Dawn Keller, executive director of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Barrington. "They looked worse than when I put them back up. So I'm glad we went up there (Thursday night) as opposed to Saturday, which would have been our next opportunity."
Keller said Friday the birds were alert, and able to eat small bits of solid food.
"I felt that if we waited until Saturday, we'd have had a dead bird or critical birds," she said.
Keller didn't know why the adults didn't take to the new nest. And it is possible when the birds are released to the wild, it may happen at Mooseheart.