News

Revisiting the successful bald eagle fledgling rescue at Del Valle Regional Park

Park staff worked around fallen branches, debris to recover eaglet

Wildlife program manager Doug Bell (left) and wildlife biologist David Riensche (right) stand with the eaglet after completing a safe rescue. (Photo courtesy EBRPD)

Staff members of Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore lauded the outcome of a recent bald eagle fledgling rescue -- a mission that kept park officials and nearby residents on their toes until the retrieval was complete and the animal's recovery period was over.

The eaglet rescue has since been deemed a success by park staff. It was made possible by nearby ranch managers, Del Valle park biologists and a medical team at Lindsay Wildlife Hospital in Walnut Creek.

The bald eagle fledgling is set free after recovery. (Photo courtesy EBRPD)

The nest was already deemed at risk by park officials because previous nests have fallen from the same pine tree over the last several years. It was on June 11 that a collapsed tree was spotted by close-by ranch managers who alerted park staff.

"A huge trunk and branch supporting the nest collapsed, likely in one of our recent high-wind events," said Doug Bell, wildlife program manager with the East Bay Regional Park District. "When we arrived, we could see the eagle possibly trapped with the debris branches."

While eagle rescues at regional parks are not so common, their location can make them susceptible to environmental changes.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

"An eagle's nest is a large structure high in a tree, so a lot of natural events can happen, such as lightning strikes, high winds, or extreme events like ever increasing wildland fires which of course can overtake a nest tree and torch it," Bell said.

After locating the bald eagle fledgling, Bell and wildlife biologist David Riensche coordinated the rescue together.

"We devised a plan whereby Dave would scramble above the eagle and come down-slope to it, while I would approach it from below," Bell said.

Before Bell and Riensche were able to make it down to the location, ranch managers and park naturalist Alex Collins kept watch on the eaglet in the event that it moved and injured itself more.

"This is a safety precaution for the eaglet because you never know what an eaglet might try to do when you approach it," Bell said. "We didn't want it to fly off and get into more trouble."

Staff at the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital facility in Walnut Creek tend to the injured bird. (Photo courtesy EBRPD)

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Once Bell and Riensche arrived at the location, they attempted to recover the eaglet from the fallen debris. Bell recalled, "As we got closer to the bird it began to wiggle through the network of branches, just as Dave was able to take hold of its wings I came up from below and managed to wrap my hands around its legs and control its feet and talons to prevent it doing any harm to us or itself."

After the two had securely grabbed the bird, it was still wrapped in branches and debris and required detangling to be pulled out -- the most difficult part of the rescue, according to Bell.

"We still had to disentangle it from everything without letting go of anything," he said. Once they were able to free the eaglet from the fallen tree, it was transported to Lindsay Wildlife Hospital.

The bald eagle fledgling takes flight after being released from recovery. (Photo courtesy EBRPD)

The hospital conducted several tests on the eagle, as well as X-rays and found a fracture to the bird's left carpometacarpus -- or its distal wing bone. A pin was inserted into the wing bone that helped to heal the fracture; the pin was removed once the bone healed.

"The eaglet was deemed ready to be released in just two and half weeks since its injury," Bell said. Once fully healed, the bird was brought back to the area of the fallen tree and released. Bell said nearby ranchers have even reported seeing the eaglet flying around the area.

Upon successful completion of the rescue, Bell felt "relieved and misty-eyed with joy to know the eagle family was reunited."

"As the bald eagle population increases, particularly in human-use areas, we can expect more such eagle-human encounters, both good (rescues) and bad (illegal actions)," he said.

A front row seat to local high school sports.

Check out our new newsletter, the Playbook.

Looking for more Livermore stories? The Livermore Vine will be your new source of vital news and information. Sign up to be among the first to get our daily local news headlines sent to your inbox for free.

Nicole Gonzales
 
Nicole Gonzales is a staff reporter for Embarcadero Media’s East Bay Division, the Pleasanton Weekly. Nicole began writing for the publication in July 2022. Read more >>

Follow DanvilleSanRamon.com on Twitter @DanvilleSanRamo, Facebook and on Instagram @ for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Revisiting the successful bald eagle fledgling rescue at Del Valle Regional Park

Park staff worked around fallen branches, debris to recover eaglet

by / Livermore Vine

Uploaded: Wed, Aug 3, 2022, 3:16 pm

Staff members of Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore lauded the outcome of a recent bald eagle fledgling rescue -- a mission that kept park officials and nearby residents on their toes until the retrieval was complete and the animal's recovery period was over.

The eaglet rescue has since been deemed a success by park staff. It was made possible by nearby ranch managers, Del Valle park biologists and a medical team at Lindsay Wildlife Hospital in Walnut Creek.

The nest was already deemed at risk by park officials because previous nests have fallen from the same pine tree over the last several years. It was on June 11 that a collapsed tree was spotted by close-by ranch managers who alerted park staff.

"A huge trunk and branch supporting the nest collapsed, likely in one of our recent high-wind events," said Doug Bell, wildlife program manager with the East Bay Regional Park District. "When we arrived, we could see the eagle possibly trapped with the debris branches."

While eagle rescues at regional parks are not so common, their location can make them susceptible to environmental changes.

"An eagle's nest is a large structure high in a tree, so a lot of natural events can happen, such as lightning strikes, high winds, or extreme events like ever increasing wildland fires which of course can overtake a nest tree and torch it," Bell said.

After locating the bald eagle fledgling, Bell and wildlife biologist David Riensche coordinated the rescue together.

"We devised a plan whereby Dave would scramble above the eagle and come down-slope to it, while I would approach it from below," Bell said.

Before Bell and Riensche were able to make it down to the location, ranch managers and park naturalist Alex Collins kept watch on the eaglet in the event that it moved and injured itself more.

"This is a safety precaution for the eaglet because you never know what an eaglet might try to do when you approach it," Bell said. "We didn't want it to fly off and get into more trouble."

Once Bell and Riensche arrived at the location, they attempted to recover the eaglet from the fallen debris. Bell recalled, "As we got closer to the bird it began to wiggle through the network of branches, just as Dave was able to take hold of its wings I came up from below and managed to wrap my hands around its legs and control its feet and talons to prevent it doing any harm to us or itself."

After the two had securely grabbed the bird, it was still wrapped in branches and debris and required detangling to be pulled out -- the most difficult part of the rescue, according to Bell.

"We still had to disentangle it from everything without letting go of anything," he said. Once they were able to free the eaglet from the fallen tree, it was transported to Lindsay Wildlife Hospital.

The hospital conducted several tests on the eagle, as well as X-rays and found a fracture to the bird's left carpometacarpus -- or its distal wing bone. A pin was inserted into the wing bone that helped to heal the fracture; the pin was removed once the bone healed.

"The eaglet was deemed ready to be released in just two and half weeks since its injury," Bell said. Once fully healed, the bird was brought back to the area of the fallen tree and released. Bell said nearby ranchers have even reported seeing the eaglet flying around the area.

Upon successful completion of the rescue, Bell felt "relieved and misty-eyed with joy to know the eagle family was reunited."

"As the bald eagle population increases, particularly in human-use areas, we can expect more such eagle-human encounters, both good (rescues) and bad (illegal actions)," he said.

Comments

There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.