A tense 48 hours for personnel at Three Rivers Avian Center, the National Park Service and countless volunteers ended happily this week after half of the New River Gorge’s only known nesting pair of Bald Eagles was struck by an Amtrak train and feared dead.
Amtrak personnel reported the strike of the bird, affectionately named Whitey, on the morning of Sunday, March 17 to Raleigh County 911, who in turn reported it to the NPS. Within minutes, Three Rivers Avian Center founders, Wendy and Ron Perrone, plus several volunteers responded and walked the tracks from Brooks Island to Sandstone Falls, but could find no trace of him.
There could not have been a worse time for Whitey to have perished. Eagles typically share nest duty, so the female can break to feed, so volunteers set food out only a short distance from the nest in the hopes she might occasionally leave to eat. Even so, without a mate, the group did not expect the eggs to survive.
After more than two days of hand-wringing worry, the group finally spotted Whitey returning to the nest, where his mate, Streaky, waited upon the pair’s third ever clutch of eggs. The Avian Center believes the bird may have been badly stunned and took shelter in the brush to recover.
Three Rivers staff and volunteers will continue to monitor the pair and set food within easy distance of the nest. For the complete story, click here.
Would you like to see Bald Eagles soaring above the New River? The Gorge has several birds now, and you are almost assured of seeing at least one on our Upper New River trips, which are perfect for families with children as young as 6. And to celebrate the launch of our 2013 Brochure, get $20 off per person if you book before Friday, March 29 at 5 PM!