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Eaglet killed after raccoon scales to the top of Platteville nest

platteville eaglet killed by raccoon.jpg
Posted at 10:24 AM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 12:24:36-04

DENVER — A 6-week-old eaglet was killed on Monday after a raccoon scaled to the top of the nest tree in Platteville.

Xcel Energy has a live camera observing the Fort St. Vrain bald eagle nest, which captured video of the raccoon making its way up to the top of the nest and grabbing the larger of the two eaglets.

As of Tuesday morning, the second eaglet was still alive, CPW said.

Eaglets approach adult size by 9-10 weeks and are close to fledging from the nest around 12 weeks.

Predation of eaglets is not common, according to CPW, though raccoons are the most likely mammalian predator. Avian predators include magpies, crows, ravens, hawks and owls.

More common nest failures can be attributed to weather events, new nests, inexperienced pairs, the loss of an adult during nesting season and human-related disturbance in the immediate area.

The Fort St. Vrain eagle nest dates back to 1993. Forty-six eagles have hatched from the nest since 2003, when the Xcel Energy live camera began operating, according to the Raptor Resource Project.

As of 2021, there were 246 reported occupied bald eagle nests in Colorado, up from 82 in 2016 — though different surveying and reporting efforts can vary from year to year.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Mike Grooms responded to the nest area and collected the remains of the eaglet. It will be tested at CPW’s Wildlife Health Lab for the highly pathogenic avian influenza.