5-7-12 Mom and Dad Return to Nest – Harmon’s Family Reunited

At 7:00 p.m. Minnesota time, after a day of being alone in the nest, baby eaglet Harmon was finally joined by his parents. First, Dad arrived, sat on the edge of the nest for a couple of minutes, then began feeding Harmon pieces of fish head left in the nest by the Raptor Rescue folks who returned the eaglet home Sunday afternoon.

About a minute and a half later, Mom arrived, took two fish heads from Dad, and began feeding the baby herself. Now that both parents have fed the eaglet, rebonding with him, so to speak, our troubles seem to be over.

I was starting to get worried that he had been abandoned because he was by himself in the nest for more than 24 hours. Minnesota Bound and the Raptor Center were closely monitoring the nest, but it would have been heartbreaking for him to have to be removed from the nest yet again, spend another night with humans, and then be fostered into another eagle nest. The poor little guy has been through enough. Nobody deserved a break more than him.

Here’s the video of Harmon’s Dad and Mom coming home and feeding him. My heart is full. Now we can all watch him grow up in this gorgeous nest in the treetops. I look forward to every moment because, like thousands of others, I have fallen madly in love with Harmon.


The Minnesota Bound folks write: “We just witnessed the most amazing moment. Tears are flowing everywhere. For the last half hour we’ve been monitoring and watching Mom and Dad move closer. Broadband, Raptor Center and MN Bound crews are quite emotional over this most amazing homecoming……… Way to go Harmon!”

At this moment 122,000 people are watching this nest and sharing in this joy.

As the solar-powered batteries faded and the nest cam switched off shortly after 9:00 p.m. Minnesota time, Mom and Harmon were snuggled together in the nest. Sweet eagle dreams.

Posted in 5-7-12 Minnesota Bound Blog - latest update on Harmon, eagle cams, eagle chick, eagles, Live eagle cam, Love, Minnesota Bound, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Cam, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Chick, Mom and Dad eagles return to Harmon, prayer, Rescue of Harmon, Rescuing Harmon, Saving Baby Eaglet Harmon, Saving Harmon, Will Harmon's Parents Return? | Leave a comment

5-7-12 Minnesota Bound Blog – Questions and Concerns about Harmon the Eaglet’s Future

11:44 a.m. Pacific Time

Here is the latest blog from the Minnesota Bound website. The link is here for those who would like to read earlier blogs on the site, but I reblogged it in its entirety here.

The most important point is: They will not abandon him. There are several options that are being considered if the parents do not return within 48 hours from the time Harmon was returned to the nest. Whatever happens, he will be taken care of and given a chance at a real eagle life. There’s a lot of precedents and procedures in place. So, ultimately, Harmon will be taken care of.

Minnesota Blog:

Questions and Concerns…

Monday, May 7, 2012 at 11:29AM | MN Bound Editor

“We are getting a lot of questions and we want to do our best to keep you in the loop.  First off, we are in continuous conversation with the experts at the Raptor Center and we are not going to leave the bird in the tree without care.  Harmon is under great supervision at this time.  Dr. Ponder and crew have been fantastic and deserve much respect for their efforts.  Without them, this rescue and return attempt would not even be possible.  With that said, here’s what we know.

“We placed Harmon back in the nest mid-afternoon on Sunday.  The hope was that the parents would come back and take over their eaglet and their nest.  This has been done before and it has been successful in the past.  We should say, however, that there are no gaurantees.

“When we were at the nest yesterday, both eagle parents were still there.  They watched us put Harmon back in the nest.  They haven’t left.  But, here’s a tough fact to swallow.  Dr. Ponder did say that Eagle Parents don’t always come back.  Some eagle parents will give up on the nest pretty easily.  All we can do is remain hopeful that these parents aren’t like that.

“It seems logical to us that the birds would just go back and their paternal instincts would take over.  Unfortunately, wild birds don’t think like humans.  They are not capable.

“What is the fish in the nest for?  We placed fish in the nest for the parents.  This is common practice according to our eagle experts.  Consider this incentive for the parents to return.

“What can we do to help?  The best thing for everyone to do at this time is to remain patient and let the experts do their job.  Because this has been a national story in a hurry, everyone seems to want to call and ask questions.  We cannot express how much attention we are giving this situation.  Additional calls are only keeping everyone from being able to do their jobs.  While we appreciate all of the support, this blog and our facebook page is the best way for us to keep everyone informed.  Please refrain from calling the raptor center with questions.  Please know that we are in constant communication with them and will update you with information as THEY deem necessary.

“How long will we wait before we would make another rescue attempt?  That is the big question.  Again, we are working with the experts here and we value what they say to be the best advice.  Generally, the eaglet can remain alone for several hours without food.  When we put Harmon back into the tree, he was full.  It is believed that he would be ok for up to 48 hours.  The largest danger is that of predators.  Harmon is not protected from danger without the parents around.

“What will happen to Harmon if the parents don’t come back?  The experts at the Raptor Center will make that decision once we take him down.  There are a couple of options.  It has not yet been determined what that will be.  It is important to note the decision will be made on “what is best for Harmon,” not “what is best for the viewers.”  We will update you with those details when we are given the green light from them.

“A special “thanks” to the Raptor Center and Broadband.  Without their support and their boom truck, we would not be able to act so quickly.

“We will update you with more information as it becomes available.  We are still hopeful that we don’t have to make any moves and that the parents return to the nest.  Anything is possible.”

Posted in 5-7-12 Minnesota Bound Blog - latest update on Harmon, eagle cams, eagle chick, eagles, Harmon is home, Live eagle cam, Minnesota Bound, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Cam, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Chick, Nature, Rescue of Harmon, Rescuing Harmon, Saving Baby Eaglet Harmon, Saving Harmon, Will Harmon's Parents Return? | Tagged | 2 Comments

5-7-12 Monday Morning Update: Will Harmon’s Parents Return?

Harmon the Eagle, Monday morning, 10:08 Pacific Time

The eagle parents have still not returned to the nest, but the Raptor Center will continue to closely monitor the nest. Here is a link to their latest update blog and the text to that message:

“While we wait patiently to see if the adult eagles return to the nest, we thought we would take a moment to respond to some of the questions we have received in the past 48 hours.

“What did we leave in the nest with Harmon? We left several pieces of fish in the nest when we returned the eaglet. We know that the most important cue for the adults to return to the nest is the eaglet’s food begging cries – our hope in leaving the fish was that once the adults came in, they would not have to take the time to hunt, but would have “fast food” available with which to feed Harmon.

“Did we stay in the area to see what happened? What happens next? While we took care to note the presence of the male and female perched about a ¼ mile away, we attempted to leave the nest area as quickly as possible. One of our major concerns is that eagles will often abandon their nests if disturbed during nesting. Clearly, this whole episode has been a major disturbance, albeit necessary if the eaglet was to survive. We – like you – are waiting patiently to see if the parents will come back this morning. And as we wait, we are in discussions on the next phase of Harmon’s journey should the parents not return to care for him.”

I found these two articles in the Richmond Times Dispath about two eaglets whose parent had abandoned the nest because of crews who came to the nest area to dismantle the camera equipment when it was decided that it was disturbing the parents, who had stopped feeding their babies. The eaglets were removed from the net and hand fed by experts Friday and Saturday after, then returned to the nest.

The parents returned finally to feed their chicks, however, if the parents hadn’t returned, experts at the Center for Conservation Biology had planned on moving each of the chicks to another eagle nest with chicks already in it in a remote location. Aparently, scientists have been doing these kinds of planned adoptions for decades, and “he open mouths and begging calls of the new chicks trigger a response in adults to treat the new chicks as their own.” Perhaps something like this is planned for Harmon if mom and dad don’t return to the nest. Of course, we all hope that they do.

Here are the links to the two news articles:



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Harmon is Home! Baby Eaglet Returned to the Nest after Treatment at the MN Raptor Center

Sunday, May 6, 5:37 p.m. Pacific Standard Time

It was a great thrill for me to check in on the Minnesota Bound nest just now and see that Baby Harmon is back home. The Raptor Center folks gave him excellent care and helped him get ready to return to the nest before that 48-hour window had expired. The timing was important because statistically it is more likely that eagle parents will still be in the area before giving up on the nest. Now close to 6,000 people are sitting on the edge of their seats, watching the Minnesota Bound Eagle Cam to see if and when the parents will return and this family will be reunited.

Here is the video of Jim returning Harmon to his nest. The homecoming starts about 10:00 minutes into the video:


You can see in the film that Jim did some nest restoration first, filling in the hole where Harmon was trapped, throwing out clumps and debris, and generally smoothing out the entire nest area. Harmon seemed tired but calm after he was returned and the last ten minutes of the video show him moving around normally, with some great close ups. He looks so much better than he did Saturday. It’s amazing what a few days of rest and medical attention will do. He was well fed before he left the Raptor Center and should be fine on his own for quite a while. Jim also left several fish heads in the nest to entice the parents to return.

Below is a link to another video about Harmon’s return, with an interview with Dr. Julia Ponder from the Raptor Center. What amazed me was her comment that Harmon still was not in good shape on Saturday night, but that he had “made incredible progress overnight. He’s a totally different bird than he was 48 hours ago.” This seems nothing short of miraculous, but perhaps that was only to be expected, considering that literally thousands of people were praying for the little guy, sending him love and positive thoughts.

Those at the base of the tree Sunday afternoon said that the parents were perched on telephone wires, watching Harmon being placed back into the nest. The Minnesota Bound commentator said, “Mom and dad have been flying around the nest and we think that any time they may sneak back into the nest to check on Harmon.”

Here’s a link to the video: http://www.mnbound.com/bald-eagle-blog/

The Raptor Center and nest cam monitors will be keeping a close watch on Harmon over the next 48 hours to see if he and his parents can become a family again. When the solar batteries gave out and the camera turned off in the early evening, Harmon was resting in the nest, with his little head under his wing like a big eagle. Mom and dad had not returned yet, but people in the live chat room commented several times that they could hear that the parents were nearby.

I am so deeply moved by how this event has brought eagle watchers together from all over the country—85,000 people visited the site on Saturday, checking in all day and waiting for Harmon’s rescue. Harmon’s story make you realize how we are all united by our love of the young eagles and their parents and how our energy and hope stands behind each nest, cheering for the next generation, wishing them success every single day from the moment they are hatched, till they fledge, and beyond. I can’t help but believe that the combined strength, faith, and caring of these tens of thousands of individuals, this community, is part of the force that helps these eagles to soar out into the world.

Posted in eagle cams, eagle chick, eagles, Harmon is home, Live eagle cam, Minnesota Bound, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Cam, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Chick, Nature, Rescuing Harmon, Saving Baby Eaglet Harmon, Saving Harmon | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harmon the Eaglet Is Recovering at the Minnesota Raptor Center

Sunday Morning, May 6, 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time

This is the third of a series of blogs on Harmon’s the Eaglet’s continuing recovery at the Minnesota Raptor Center. I know it is hard to piece together these daily updates on this 3-week old eaglet that had to be rescued from the nest last Friday afternoon, May 4, so I’m putting information and videos together and posting them in my WordPress blog as I find out more. I’m also monitoring the chat room periodically at the Minnesota nest because some of the individuals there seem to have hotlines to some info.

If you want to know the whole story from the beginning, please read my May 4 blog “Saving Harmon, the Eaglet in the Minnesota Bound Nest.” That blog includes an explanation of what happened to the eaglet, how he got stuck, and a video of the rescue by Jim, a tree climber and raptor expert.

New Video Update from Minnesota Bound

I just found this new Minnesota Bound video update this morning. The commentator gives a very good update on Harmon’s progress and talks about whether or not the Raptor Center will be able to return him to the nest.

What is key is trying to get him back into the nest as close as possible to a 48-hour “window.” The possibility of eagle parents continuing to visit the nest after that period falls off statistically. But, hey, I’m a firm believer in miracles and it ain’t over till it’s over.

The good news is that the parents were reporting flying by and visiting the nest frequently on Saturday, so they haven’t given up yet.

Here’s a link to the latest update video:


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5-5-12 Links to Rescue Videos of Baby Harmon the Eaglet

There have been a few more updates on the condition of Baby eaglet Harmon in the Minnesota Bound nest. (For details of what happened to Harmon and video of his rescue on Friday afternoon, please see my previous blog.) First, Minnesota Bound published a video on their blog late Friday that gave more details about Harmon’s Rescue and taking him to the Raptor Center for evaluation. Here is a link to that video: http://www.mnbound.com/bald-eagle-blog/2012/5/4/the-rescue-video.html

At 1:13 Pacific Time Saturday, there was also an update about his condition on Facebook: *Harmon is in good hands at the Raptor Center. He was in rough shape, but still doing well. The doctors said he has been doing better than they anticipated.  We hope to have detailed information about his condition in the near future. Also, refrain from burdening the Raptor Center with additional calls at this time. They need to do their job. We appreciate all of the support and will update as we learn more.”

From following the chat room on and off since this morning, I have read reports of at least the mom eagle visiting the nest with a fish, which she ate because there was no one to give it to.

Also, someone commented on my previous blog, telling me the story of the rescue of the Virginia eaglet and his return to the nest. The parents happily welcomed the chick back and continued to care for it.

Added late in the Afternoon: Raptor Center Blog

It would seem, however, that time is still of the essence in getting the chick in good enough shape to return to the nest before the parents give up.

On the Raptor Center Blog today, they gave a very thorough update on Harmon’s condition, complete with an x-ray showing no broken bones. I could not get the pictures to insert into my blog, but here is the link to the Raptor Center blog and the complete text. I love the x-ray of Harmon’s little body.

Saturday, May 5, 2012 – Raptor Center

Bald Eagle Chick Rescue

“As followers of MN Bound’s Eagle Cam are aware, yesterday was an eventful day in the life of a very young eagle chick here in Minnesota. Thousands of people around the world watched as the eaglet, less than three weeks old, struggled for hours trying to free its entrapped wing. With the chick getting weaker and authorities concerned that the eaglet was entangled in fishing line, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a special permit to allow intervention at the nest. After climbing into the nest and freeing the chick’s wing (which was trapped by nest structure, not fishing line), tree-climber and avian expert, Jim Mussel noted the chick’s poor condition and chose to remove it from the nest, bringing it to TRC for medical evaluation and care. (Click here for the rescue video). 

“When the eaglet arrived late yesterday, it was immediately provided supportive emergency care. The chick’s wing was bruised and swollen from being trapped and it had multiple wounds on its back that had become infested with maggots. With the chick very depressed and a bit dehydrated, we are staging its exams, diagnostics and treatment to prevent too much stress to its weakened body. This morning, the chick is stronger, eating well and looking substantially better. There are many considerations when working with a bird this age including preventing nutritional problems and abnormal behavior development. And we know that with no other chicks in the nest, the parents will not hang around for very long without a chick to feed. We do not yet know how long it will take the chick to recover enough to be returned to a nest (or even if it will recover enough). We will, however, keep everyone updated on a daily basis while the chick is with us.

“As always, we are very grateful for those of you who provide support for The Raptor Center’s work – without you, we would not be around to assist in situations like this. For those of you who would like to know more or make a donation, please click here.”

Posted in eagle cams, eagle chick, eagles, Live eagle cam, Minnesota Bound, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Cam, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Chick, Saving Baby Eaglet Harmon, Saving Harmon, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Saving Harmon, the Eaglet in the Minnesota-Bound Nest

[Scroll down to watch video of baby eagle Harmon’s rescue. The actual rescue begins about 15 minutes into the video.]

For the last day and a half I have witnessed something that was truly extraordinary. Yesterday in the early afternoon in the Minnesota Bound Eagle Cam nest, the last remaining baby eagle, Harmon, became caught in the nesting material and couldn’t get out. The mom had made a “bowl” in the damp, post-rain nesting materials, Harmon collapsed in a typical “food coma” after a big feeding and slipped down into the hole. When he tried to move again, he couldn’t get out. His little wing had become caught in the sticky, drying nest bowl.

For over 24 hours thousands of people watched Harmon struggle to free himself while his parents fed him, took turns staying close to him, and made efforts to free him. You could tell that they were concerned and knew something was wrong, but couldn’t figure out how to make it right. If an eagle can have a “perplexed” expression, they certainly had it.

It was so heartbreaking to watch this little three-week-old eagle keep struggling to free itself. It was especially hard considering that a week earlier the other chick in the nest had accidentally been knocked out, gotten stuck outside the “nest crib,” and fallen to its death. My heart just broke the day that happened. I’ve been watching this nest practically since the chicks were hatched and they started their lives together like two little fluffy white angels. I’ll never forget the video of the mom delicately and tenderly feeding the day-old babies. So, of course, it became imperative for all of us who lovingly follow the eagle chicks to save Harmon.

Quite a lot of discussion went on in the “Live Chat Room” as to whether or not it was possible to even approach the nest, since eagles are a protected species, or whether we would have to watch Nature take its course, which seemed too terrible to even contemplate.

Fortunately, some nest watchers knew how to contact the proper authorities and the rescue was set into motion. The first step was to apply for a permit from the USFWS for permission to enter the nesting territory of the eagles.  State officials had to be contacted as well. Apparently, there is a $5,000 to $25,000 fine for approaching an eagle’s nest without permission. In the meantime the Minnesota Raptor Center was contacted and a boom truck was driven to the site. “Tree Climber Jim,” a fellow who has experience climbing very tall trees (this nest was 75 feet above the ground) and dealing with irate raptor parents, was put on alert. The Raptor Center is world renowned for treating injured raptors, so if the eaglet needed medical assistance they would be ready to offer whatever help was needed.

Saving Harmon Video

Here is the video of Jim climbing into to nest and saving little Harmon. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22353672. The actual rescue starts 15:00 minutes into the film. You need to turn the sound up very loud to be able to hear the conversation between Jim and his colleague who was standing in the boom next to the nest. I understand that the mom eagle bravely stayed by the nest until the last possible minute.

I will never forget my joy at seeing Jim climb into that nest and say, “Hello Buddy.” We’d all been waiting for a day and a half for rescue. At that point over 9,000 people were watching the nest cam and every moment people had been sending that little eagle prayers and positive energy. One person had even contacted a home for 150 retired nuns, asking them to pray for the little eaglet. All day people joined in from nest cams all over the country, introducing themselves, saying, “I’m from the Decorah Eagle Cam.” “I’m from the San Clemente Channel Island cams,” all sending their support and good wishes. Support came in world wide.

Surprisingly, Jim was able to pull Harmon easily from the nest bowl. He took off his climbing gloves and, with his bare hands, cleaned the feces and maggots off the sweet baby, cradling him gently and doing everything he could to assess his condition and see if there was any apparent damage. Harmon’s little wings seemed to flap easily, but he seemed exhausted and a bit unsteady on his feet, what Pete called some “equilibrium problems.” According to the Facebook page for Minnesota Bound: “Our eagle expert made a decision to bring the eaglet down. It wasn’t in good shape at the moment. We are going to take it back to the Raptor Center for treatment and hopefully right back to the nest.”

A hard rain started about half an hour after they got the baby out of the nest.

It’s Been a Tough Season for Eaglets

Not all the baby eaglets make it. I’m a San Clemente resident and a Catalina and Channel Island eagle watcher. It’s been a challenging season for us here, and we’ve had our hearts broken twice. The first time was by the loss of the lone eaglet in the Two Harbors nest. Apparently the mom eagle was detained or injured in some way and her mate stayed with her throughout the night. When they came back to the nest with a fish the next morning, the mom looking bedraggled and the worse for wear, their baby was gone, carried off in the night by a fox. The eaglet fought valiantly but was too young to save itself. I cried for days over that one because the Two Harbors nest is my favorite.

I was thankful at least that there was a bright patch. A week before the loss of this year’s TH chick, Solitaire, or “Sassy” as she was nicknamed for her spunky attitude, the lone 2011 TH chick, was sighted on San Clemente Island after being unaccounted for for several months. So Solitaire successfully made it past her first year and has established a territory.

Our second loss was the youngest chick in the Rattlesnake nest. A bad storm with high winds came through a week ago, knocking down several large trees in the canyon, including one adjacent to the nest. The biologists believe that these heavy winds knocked the smallest chick right out of the nest.

What is beautiful to watch, however, is the love and grief that our nest watchers share as our eaglets hatch, grow, fledge, and start their new lives. Once again I saw this love expressed with baby Harmon’s struggle and rescue.

It’s unknown whether Harmon will be returned to the nest, but the prognosis looks good. He/she is presently at the Raptor Center being cleaned up, de-bugged, fed well, and given a chance to rest. The biologists plan on returning him to the nest in a day or so when they’re sure he’s all right. Then we will all hold our breath to see if the parents return and begin feeding him again.

Hopefully, this story will have a happy ending, but for now Baby Harmon is safe. We’re all so happy.

Posted in eagle cams, eagle chick, eagles, Minnesota Bound, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Cam, Minnesota-Bound Eagle Chick, Rescue of Harmon, Saving Harmon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments