NORFOLK – An adult eagle was found dead Friday morning at Norfolk Botanical Garden.
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries employees are examining the bird but have not yet determined how it died. DGIF officials do not believe this is the female eagle that's been building a new nest with the resident male since the fall.
"We know the age of the dead eagle and it was the same age as the one who came to nest with the male," said researcher Reese Lukei of the Center for Conservation Biology. "So that raises some questions as to whether or not that is the bird.
Since last week’s incident, the male has been spotted mating with an adult female at the nest. Officials believe it could be the same female eagle who has been there since fall, but can't say for certain. Neither of the adult eagles is tagged with an identification band.
The long-time resident female at the Garden was killed in a collision with an airplane last April.
"This is life as it really is. It's not cleaned up. It's not sanitized in any way. Birds live in nature. Birds die just like animals die," said Norfolk Botanical Garden executive director Don Buma.
The eagles continue to intrigue locals and even birdwatchers around the world through the Eagle Cam, which will be up and running later this month.
This unique experience is made possible through a partnership of Virginia Department of Game Inland Fisheries, WVEC, and Norfolk Botanical Garden.