EAGLE UPDATE: Orv and Willa lose new egg after damage to nest

Orv keeps watch as Willa sits on an egg in the nest in March 2021.. PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM WELLER

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Orv keeps watch as Willa sits on an egg in the nest in March 2021.. PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM WELLER

What was almost a joyous week for the region’s most beloved birds quickly became tragedy overnight Wednesday.

Orv and Willa, Carillon Historical Park’s resident bald eagles, lost the egg that Willa laid less than a day before on Wednesday, according to Jim Weller, founder of the Eastwood Eagle Watchers and a volunteer bald eagle expert at Carillon. Weller said the nest, which Orv and Willa have been expanding on since their first brood at Carillon in 2018, was severely damaged and broken during an overnight windstorm.

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“Unfortunately, last night, most of the nest fell out of the tree,” Weller said. “Thursday’s rainy weather was very appropriate for the devastating day (the eagles experienced).”

Evaluating the scene Thursday morning, Weller said he observed mom and dad “looking very bewildered.”

“She was standing in the remnants of the nest, she just kind of looked like she was stunned,” Weller said. “He sat with her for a long time. Then he flew off and came back with a stick, which they laid on what was left of the nest. Then they just stood there together for a while again.”

All hope is not lost, though, and there’s still a chance the park could have baby eagles this spring.

“We’re early enough in the nesting season that hormonal drives within their body, the instinctive drives that they have, which are triggered by their hormones — that’s still strong in them,” Weller said. “There’s a chance they could rebuild a useful size nest within the next month and still lay eggs. But if that does not happen a month from now, they (will) no longer have the desire to nest, and they’ll just skip this year and start again next year.”

Of the nine eaglets that Orv and Willa have parented together since 2018, Weller said six of those have survived.

We’ll update this story as soon as there’s an update on Orv and Willa.

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