By: Pete Thomas
News of the loss, the first known fatality among 14 eagles that have hatched at the Decorah nest, spread Monday via social media platforms, including theRaptor Research Project andDecorah Eagles Facebook pages.
Among RRP posts was this one:
"We are very sorry to announce that D12 is dead. D12 was found electrocuted at the base of a power pole on a Sunday morning. We notified the power company, who modified the top of that pole on Sunday and several other poles in the area on Monday. As of this morning, they are continuing to identify and modify poles to make them raptor safe."
The Decorah eagles won millions of fans from around the world during the past two seasons, thanks to a high-definition webcam operated by the RRP and its director, Bob Anderson.
Fans tuned into the live feed to watch the eagles hatch, grow, compete with each other for food and ultimately take their first flights.
D12 was the first of three eagles to hatch this past spring.
David Lynch, a volunteer for the RRP, told KWWL News 7: "Many around the world watched the eagle go from egg to chick to fledge right out of the tree. To see something happen, they feel like they lost a member of their family."
Anderson told the Gazette that an off-duty employee for Alliant Energy responded to the incident by installing a temporary insulation shield on the pole to prevent D12's two siblings from also being electrocuted. Since fledging, all three have remained near the near the nest tree and the power poles.
One of the three, D14, was fitted last week with a satellite transmitter so its movements can be monitored. The bird is faring well, Anderson said.
-- Image showing D12 on a branch is courtesy of the Raptor Research Project