The juvenile bald eagle that died in Kirkland’s Heritage Park Monday apparently died of injuries suffered when a branch gave way beneath it, Kirkland police reported today.
The bird’s fatal fall was witnessed by a neighbor who was walking his dog and observing the park’s eagles as he has done daily for five years, Lt. John Haslip said. The man was watching the bird when the accident occurred.
“The eaglet appeared that he was going to fly because he was standing flapping his wings and all of a sudden the branch broke out from beneath him and the eaglet tumbled, striking several other branches on the way down,” Haslip said.
For a moment, the eagle came to rest on one of the lower branches before falling to the ground. The dog walker, with another parkgoer, ran over to the injured bird.
“He saw the eagle kind of raise his head up and appear to take a breath, and then he stopped breathing,” Haslip said.
The dog walker called 911 at 6:32 a.m., and a police officer responded. The officer reported that the bird appeared dead and its neck bent out of shape, Haslip said. City parks officials notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which took the body.
The young eagle is believed to be one of two siblings that attracted considerable attention after they hatched in April in a nest near downtown Kirkland and took their first flights nearly two weeks ago. However, Eastside Audubon has reported sightings of another juvenile in the park, possibly an eagle that fledged from the same nest last year.
Celebrate Kirkland!, which organizes Kirkland’s Fourth of July parade and fireworks, moved the fireworks launch site away from the nest tree because of Eastside Audubon’s concerns that explosions might startle the chicks and cause one or both to fall from the nest.