Little Bit ND 17 – we wait to see what happens next

27 June 2022

There is always a lot of disinformation when an event occurs and I am guilty for spreading some today. My sincerest apologies! Little Bit ND17 fell off the Bald Eagle nest in St Patrick’s County Park in South Bend Indiana at 15:45:12. Whether it was an accident or precipitated by Little Bit wanting to move after 16 (who returned to the nest today) pecked its neck is not known – and never will be.

Little Bit was found near the base of the tree. Park staff state that 17 is standing and appears alert. Earlier reports of him eating the fish appear to be false. Lindsay Grossman said she looked for that fish because she was going to give it to him but could not find it. A wild life rehabber in Elkhart, Indiana who works with raptors has been notified. The DNR staff were not present, just park staff. Park staff said that they would check Little Bit 17 in about an hour giving him some space.

It is about a 35 minute drive from the rehabbers in Elkhart to St. Patrick’s Park.

According to a chatter the FB page for the nest states, “Rehabber and DNR have been contacted but cannot say at this time what if anything that will happen going forward. “

The wildlife rehabber in Elkhart has COVID. There is another Raptor specialist in Valpo but they are off today. Valpo is a little further away but the park staff say that should become an option tomorrow.

Send all good wishes to Little Bit 17. He is a fighter – always has been! Do you remember when? It is April 24. There is Little Bit 17 right up in front.

At 10:03 this morning.

So what is Little Bit’s challenge if he is on the ground? Lindsay Grossman says, “Yes, coyote is the biggest concern at this time. He does have some weapons at his disposal to fight back with though….” I have seen eaglets this age attacked – roughly 12 weeks – and they did not use their talons to fight. They were surprised and became dinner. Little Bit 17 is also quite small. No one wants him to become dinner.

I am a great believer in intervention when it is warranted and when it can be done with a reasonable hope for success. That would seem to be the state we are in with Little Bit 17. It is unclear whether or not he can fly – he could be bruised and sore, he could have a small fracture in a shoulder—— we do not know and won’t until he is in the care of a wildlife rehabilitation facility. My hope is that either Little Bit is taken into care before dark or that people are there with him (at a safe distance for all) so that he is protected over night. Little Bit is certainly loved.

I do wish someone would bring Little Bit a fish. He has not eaten today. Will the parents? We will find out.

In one incident with a grounded forced fledged Osprey, the bird was discovered by someone that knew a little bit about raptors. The Osprey was placed on his arm and encouraged to fly off. After awhile and much up and down motion of the arm, the bird took off. It is possible that if picked up Little Bit 17 would, indeed, fly. Still, there is the issue of the nest that is not capable of having 3 eaglets on it and sometimes 3 eaglets and a parent. It is a very tricky situation.

Someone asked if Little Bit can catch his own meal? Fledgling eagles learn how to fly. The parents provide them with food on the nest or at an off nest location until their flying is strong. It is then that they teach them how to hunt. The parents provide for them. A good example is the Southwest Florida nest where M16 and Harriet provide prey on the nest and gradually, when the fledglings flying is better, the fledglings begin to get their own prey often in the pond adjacent to the nest. This is usually close to when they leave to find their own territory.

These parents are good at keeping their fledglings fed and enticing them with food to return to the nest. That is how we got in this pickle. It is entirely possible that the parents will get prey and entice Little Bit to fly to another spot. He needs to get off the ground. We wait.

Pictures posted of Little Bit 17 in the brush by Lindsay Grossman on Notre Dame Eagles FB page. Thank you, Lindsay! So nice to see you Little Bit. You are quite beautiful or should we say handsome?

He is a lovely bird.

The one good thing for Little Bit is that the people at St Patrick’s County Park love their eagles and they will do everything that they possibly can to keep Little Bit 17 safe and sound!

Our little sweetheart. Stay safe Little 17!

Thank you for bearing with me today. This nest has been a focus for a long, long time – almost from the moment Little Bit hatched. He is so loved and so many people are wishing hard for his success. Certainly of all the eaglets I have watched he certainly deserves a life. Take care everyone. I hope to have updates tomorrow morning.

Thanks again to ‘H’ for alerting me to the fall the second it happened, to Lindsay Grossman for allowing us to post the images of 17 and to the ND-LEED streaming and chat.

4 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Mary Ann he should be sent to a vet or a rehab now to ensure he is ok. This is what I believe. He deserves to be tested. I’m sure someone could get permission in a case like this where the nest has fallen and could fall the rest down at any time too. I don’t think he is flying yet. We don’t want an infection to set in.
    If there is something fractured for it to get worse either. Isn’t there anyone to call?

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