The pair of nesting eagles at Gratiot Lake produced a squawking baby boy in the spring of 2001. This was the third eaglet to hatch from this pair in the last four years.
In late June, Joe Papp, an eagle bander and wildlife biologist arrived at Gratiot Lake to band the eaglet. This turned out to be a memorable experience for the bird and for all of those who came to observe.
A view of the nest.
When he wasn't squawking for his parents to bring food, the eaglet spent much of his time preparing to fly and surveying the action on the lake.
In a matter of minutes, Joe climbed the 82 to the nest and carefully placed the eaglet in a canvas bag for the descent. With 19 years of experience in banding eagles, Joe skillfully soothed the eaglet and brought him down to weigh and measure and to take the blood and feather samples that are gathered while banding.
On the ground, Papp was assisted by Liz Hay, Headwaters Raven and Mike Scheiwe and student interns Kate Flynn, Jake Musser, and Zach Gayk, and Bonnie Hay. Ginny Jamison, two young fishermen, and a fawn joined the group to observe.
The baby weighed in at six pounds nine ounces. Feather appearance, size, and wear showed he was seven weeks old. Blood and a few feathers were taken for analysis, and a coded band was put on his leg to allow birders to track his movements.
The eaglet was given pedialyte through a syringe to replenish lost fluids.
While the helpers held the eaglet, Joe Papp returned to the nest to search for unhatched eggs. He found one which was sent to the lab for analysis.
Thirty second excerpt from the QuickTime video below.