HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Early Thursday morning, staff members of Carolina Raptor Center entered the eagle aviary and found the remains of the eaglet hatched on February 9.
It appears that the almost four-week-old chick was attacked overnight by an unknown predator.
Enhanced predator protection is in place at the eagle aviary, and there were no obvious breaches in the enclosure, providing little evidence as to the identity of the predator. There are numerous carnivorous predators that are naturally found in Latta Plantation Nature Preserve.
“We are particularly saddened by the death of the eaglet in this way, because we put forth tremendous effort to protect our birds,” said Executive Director Jim Warren. “The predator protection includes chain link fencing that is dug into the ground to prevent predators from digging under barricades.”
Savannah and Derek have produced chicks since 2006, and this is the first predator attack in the eagle aviary since the aviary was opened. There is no evidence that any of the resident bald eagles were involved or injured in the incident.
It is common practice at Carolina Raptor Center to investigate all predator attacks and aviary breaches. The center has informed the appropriate officials at US Fish and Wildlife. Center leadership will provide additional information to the Carolina Raptor Center community of staff, volunteers and friends as it becomes available.
Carolina Raptor Center extends sympathies to the thousands of EagleCam watchers and supporters who mourn the death of the eaglet.
The EagleCam is the one of the most popular features on WCNC.com, with thousands of people tuning in every day to watch Savannah, Derek and their family. The camera angle has been moved from the nest to the water feature inside the aviary where you will continue to see Savannah and Derek.
We at NBC Charlotte are deeply saddened to learn of the eaglet's death, and we would like to join the Carolina Raptor Center in extending our sympathies to each of you who love and adore Derek and Savannah the way we do.