Eaglets have hatched at Mooseheart

MOOSEHEART – A pair of eagles again have decided to nest on Mooseheart property, and it appears two eaglets have hatched.

Batavia resident Ron Dickenson, a member of the Loyal Order of Moose who enjoys photographing the eagles who live on the Mooseheart Child City & School property near Batavia, has been watching the eagles feed their babies in a nest that's perched in a pine tree.

"They've been hatched for like two weeks," he said. "They started bringing fish into the nest. The nest is so deep, it's hard to see them," he said.

He has been watching the eagles since they first appeared near the Batavia area in 2009. He said the eagles spent at least one year comfortably raising their eaglets, but subsequent years haven't been as smooth.

In 2011, the eagles' nest blew over following a heavy storm, causing animal rescuers to step in and build a man-made nest. The eaglets later were taken to Barrington-based Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation and ultimately were released at Starved Rock State Park.

Despite that rough patch, the eagles returned again last year to nest at Mooseheart property. Dickenson said the eagles settled in a tree near the one they had been in the previous year, but he said it appeared that something destroyed part of the nest, so the eagles had abandoned that nest and moved toward Nelson Lake.

Dickenson said this year, the eagles made their home in a different area on Mooseheart's campus than in past years. He said they found an existing nest originally built by red-tailed hawks and made it larger.

Mooseheart spokesperson Darryl Mellema said while the eagles are known as the Mooseheart eagles, he stressed that Mooseheart's only affiliation with the eagles is that they happen to live on Mooseheart property.

"We don't have a whole lot to do with this," he said. "The eagles have chosen a tree, and we're fortunate that they've chosen another tree on Mooseheart's campus."

Dickenson said the eagles' nest appears to be much larger than it has been in previous years, and noted that the eaglets seem to be in good health. He said the eagles tend to switch between who gets to sit on the nest and who gets to gather food, he said. And the baby eagles enjoy playing around, too.

"They're starting to get rambunctious. It's been fun watching them," he said. "They're just like kids. They fight, and they have sticks that they pull back and forth."