RUSH CITY, Minn. – Perhaps the towering Chisago County white pine was just cursed.
Less than a year after being the focus of national attention when a baby eagle became tangled in its limbs, the tree was toppled by the wind on Sunday morning, taking down with it two more baby eagles.
“We were going over for coffee and saw that the tree fell down,” said Judy Remitz, a neighbor who stopped with her grandchildren. “And I said, ‘Oh my gosh, those babies got to be on the ground somewhere.'”
Remitz and her grandchildren found one of the eaglets in a ditch, with an apparent broken wing.
Their field diagnosis was confirmed with an x-ray at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, where the eaglet was euthanized.
Dr. Julia Ponder, The Raptor Center’s executive director, said the break was at a joint in the bird’s wing, meaning it was never going to be able to fly or function normally.
Despite a thorough search of the area, Remitz and her grandchildren were unable to find the other baby eagle. They suspect it may be under the fallen tree.
“We're hoping that it's still alive, but I don't think it is, which is really sad,” said Kiera Loffin, Remitz’s 8-year-old granddaughter.
The tree gained notoriety last Fourth of July weekend after Afghanistan War veteran Jason Galvin skillfully shot down a baby eagle from same nest. That eaglet was hanging upside down from a limb, after becoming tangled in a piece of rope.
Freedom, as the bird was later named, is now training at The Raptor Center to be an educational bird. During his ordeal, one of Freedom’s talons was left too damaged for him to hunt in the wild.