Dillon Reservoir eagle chick, long marooned on island, finally takes flight
September 15, 2016
It had become one of the main attractions on Dillon Reservoir and a must-see for kayak tours. Since it first appeared on a small island in June, it had grown into an object of speculation and concern. The Frisco Marina received regular calls about it. But late Thursday morning, it flew away.
Thus ended the saga of the Lake Dillon eagle chick, which many feared was injured or sick after it fell from its nest back in June. Since then it had stayed put, except for a short waddle to the other end of its island home. Its doting parents continued to feed the youngster, but some grew worried over the fledgling's fate come winter.
Joanne Rudloff, a member of the Parks and Wildlife Department's volunteer Wildlife Transport Team, was part of the small rescue party that headed out on a Sheriff's Office patrol boat to check on the bird.
"I first saw it in June when I was just kayaking around," she recalled. "I go out a couple of times a week, so I would always check on it. It was just hanging out there on the ground."
Rudloff is a veteran of many animal rescue operations, including that of an osprey chick that fell out of its nest near North Pond in 2012. It was released back into the wild after four weeks at a rehabilitation center in Broomfield.
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This chick, though, was apparently just lazy.
As the team approached to flush the bird down to the shoreline and into a cage, it took flight, soaring majestically across the lake.
"It was humongous, bigger than its parents," said Rudloff's husband, George.
The rescue party let out a cheer as their quarry shrank to a distant speck in the sky. It was the best outcome they could have hoped for, and meant that despite all the worrying, the chick was fine all along — he simply needed some space from his parents.