Monday, January 15, 2018

Remembering Eloise--The First Lady of HBEC

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Eloise, the original female bald eagle at the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam project.  She was spotted on the nest cam Saturday with an injury under her right wing.  On Sunday Harrison Bay State Park rangers responded to a local land owner reporting an eagle in distress.  She was captured and taken to the University of Tennessee Veterinary College for treatment but did not survive her injuries.

We have, as viewers of HBEC, had the distinct pleasure of watching her care for her nest and territory.  From watching her direct her mate Elliott as to where each and every stick should be placed around the nest perimeter to carefully and delicately rolling her eggs and feeding her chicks without the slightest chance of injury to them with her razor sharp beak or talons to protecting her nest from predators or other eagles that would like to take over, it has been a true gift to witness this.

Since 2010 Eloise has laid 12 eggs of which 10 successfully hatched and fledged from our nest to take to the skies and fly free.  Along that path we have had several close calls or frights including the premature branching and fledging of HB5 which lead to a capture and rehabilitation stint at the American Eagle Foundation before being released back at the golf course.  HB5 Flies Free Again

Watching Eloise care for her eaglets was a tremendous honor.  There were so many times where she would shelter them from rain and snow and stay awake all night long to make sure they were safe and sound.  It has truly been a blessing to get to see this magnificent animal in its natural environment and she will not soon be forgotten.

As many of you may remember Eloise left the nest last year and was replaced by Eliza.  Why this happened no one knows and we feared the worst but hoped for the best and we were all thrilled when she returned this year to reclaim her rightful place as the queen of HBEC.
Photo by Bret Douglas

Our eagle cam is a glimpse into nature at its rawest form.  We have witnessed all the elements that makes life, life.  From birth to death, caring to pain,  anger to love, all of these elements have been on direct display and many of them hurt.  We will miss seeing Eloise "boss" Elliott around about where to place the "furnishings" around the nest, seeing her care for her eaglets in the tender caring way she did, and being taken back by that distinct, heavy browed stare she had.

The Harrison Bay Eagle Cam ( will continue to function as an educational conduit to allow interested viewers to garner a view of an active bald eagle nest in the wild.  Elliott, as his natural instincts tell him to continue his species, has returned to the nest this afternoon with Eliza, the female that took Eloise's place last year.  We can only hope for continued success of the nest and for many more eaglets to be fledged in the years to come to fill the skies.

Photo by Bret Douglas

Fly Free Eloise

We will miss you dearly

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