People keeping an eye on two baby eagles via a nest webcam in Maine got a lesson last weekend in just how brutal nature can be: One of the eaglets attacked its sibling for all the world to see, reports the Bangor Daily News. That prompted pleas to the operator of the webcam, the Biodiversity Research Institute, to intervene and save the struggling eaglet. But wildlife experts opted to let nature take its course and the bird died.
Observers say it was cruel, but a state raptor specialist sums things up this way to the AP: "The nest cam is more of a mirror to reflect what's going on with all eagle nests. It's not to be used as a baby monitor to intervene when we see something that makes us feel sad as humans."
In this case, webcam observers argued that they hadn't seen the parents in a while and figured the nest had been abandoned. Nope, says another state specialist. It's common for adults to pull back as their chicks get older, and that's what happened here. An adult has since been spotted feeding the remaining eaglet, which now stands a better chance of survival given the lack of competition. In fact, much to webcam watchers' displeasure, the adult and the eaglet ate the remains of the bird that was killed, notes the Los Angeles Times.
"The general view is not to intervene," says an official with the research institute. "These are wildlife. They're not pets."
(Researchers elsewhere caught a rarity on film: an eagle attacking a deer.)
This encounter was caught on camera at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, N.J., the estate garden where an eagle-cam has been tracking a bald eagle pair since 2008. When a hawk tried to disrupt the nest, it faced the fight of its life. VPC
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