Lucy, Then and Now

So much has happened in three quick seasons. So many emotions get tugged when you partake in watching eagle web cams. Eagles4kids with Lucy and Larry is no different.

In case you are not familiar with the “L” family, here is a synopsis.  This is the fourth season of Eagles4kids.  During season 1 all was looking normal until the female (Lucy) disappeared at egg laying time. Several days later a female showed up, but most are in agreement that it was NOT the original female. Even though there were similarities, the new Lucy seemed more mild mannered than the first. Thankfully Larry accepted her. Season 2 really confirmed we were watching a new female and her first clutch. Larry really taught her how to raise the eaglets and it was amazing to watch. Lucy would tear food off and Larry would get it from her and feed the eaglets. Larry and Lucy were successful at raising two fledging eagles: Luke and Lilly. 

Season 3 everything changed. Everyone was eager to watch a successful season with the aide of another camera. A PTZ camera was purchased and installed near the old stationary camera. Little did we know how important this camera would prove to be.

November 16, 2012, Lucy appeared for the first time on camera. We knew something was wrong. An injury occurred with her foot or both feet, but we really couldn’t see well enough.


In January of 2013 the dead tissues of all the toes and a portion of the right foot fell off and Lucy was left with a knob which continued to heal. Her left foot even though it had all the toes and talons, was damaged as well. Later we learned the hallux (back toe) must have been broken.

As soon as we learned what Lucy was living with Eagles4kids sought the help of professionals.  Keep in mind; though we had some visual of in the injury, the cameras were not streaming with the highest of quality which made determining a solution difficult.

Since the beginning of Eagle4kids, we have always had a partnership with The National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. Scott Mehus was contacted and later Marge Gibson from R.E.GI. in Antigo, Wisconsin. The conclusion was made that we would leave Lucy be and let her be an eagle to the end. Whatever that was. Nothing could be done for her injury, and by netting her most likely the result would be euthanasia.

The choice was not an easy one. Lots of people were consulted on this. Lots of emotions were strong. In the end, the right decision was made.

Lucy has taught us so much. So many people have commented on her disability and the strength it gives people with disabilities. This journey also teaches our youth that any living thing with a disability is special in its own way and should be given every opportunity possible. Lucy is teaching everyone about how animals in the wild can and do cope with injuries and survive.   

Flash forward to March 9, 2013. The improbable happened. Approximately 2:23 P.M. Lucy laid an egg!

 

All eyes were on Larry and Lucy as they incubated that egg for the full incubation period. More days passed and eager eyes were looking for anything that looked like a pip (hole in the egg which is the first sign of hatching). During the night of April 20, 2013, the egg made a loud popping sound and disintegrated into pieces. Larry and Lucy’s efforts did not yield the eaglet they and everyone wanted. Again, we learned a vital lesson. Twenty-five percent of all eagle eggs laid each year do not hatch for one reason or another.

The world would continue to watch and be filled with wonder.  We left the cameras on, but June 29th would be our last camera view until late summer. Where did she go and how did she manage? Those answers are not known.

Season 4 looks to be filled with unlimited potential for Lucy and Larry to raise an eaglet(s). Lucy will be the first female with a serious injury to raise young on camera if everything proceeds as we hope. Lucy has learned and fully adapted to her “NEW” normal. We should be excited with every visit. We cannot forget that Lucy may not be here if it were not for the best eagle mate in the land!

Viewers continue to wonder some of the same thoughts others have that maybe are not as connected to this nest as other nest or the situation regarding Lucy.

Can she perch? Yes.

Can she hunt for herself? YES


Lucy and Larry have come so far. Everything is in a positive state at the moment. The project reaches far and wide and now in 101 countries. We thank everyone for the continued support. Thank you for reading about Lucy and Larry.

 

Kind regards,

Darrin Briggs ~ Eagles4kids.com

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Above was just published this past month actually just a few days before the unthinkable happened.

March 6, 2014

After school I drove to my parents. Lucy was in the nest on a nice, sunny day as I drove by. When I drove out a little while later, Lucy had left. I arrived home and checked the daily notes and learned that she left about 3:52 and checked the archive when it came live. She left with no stress as it appeared.


Just before 5:00, I observed an eagle land in the nest. It wasn't Lucy and I looked carefully, and told my son I didn't think it was Larry. This eagle flew up to Larry's branch. Shortly after it flew off and towards Beaches Corner.I was perplexed and was questioning myself.

Then, just after 6:00 an eagle flew in the nest with blood on its head in places. It was difficult to decide who it was as it was quartering away. At first I thought it was Larry. Then around 6:17, out of nowhere another eagle came in for the attack and both went over the edge of the nest. Everyone was stunned and was trying to make sense out out the event. The BIG QUESTION...Where is Lucy?

That night the bloody-headed eagle came back to the nest with a new female like they now owned the place. This was so strange as Lucy and Larry had never been observed perching in the tree. Yes, we observed Lucy sleeping in the nest but this was all different. The new pair were in and out of the nest several times that night and slept on Larry's branch and the side-perching branch. The next morning these two new eagles were in the nest bright and early working on the nest bowl. Now the next question was...Where is Larry? After traveling many, many miles on Saturday, March 8th looking for Lucy I returned home and turned on my computer. To my wondering eyes, there was Larry on the side perching branch. I know that head and eyes anywhere.

I know many still question whether this is Larry. All I can say is, I know Larry and Lucy as well as anyone. I have posted before and after pics that I feel are indisputable. So, if some want to believe it isn't, I will simply agree to disagree. That's fine.

Since the New Female's arrival, she and Larry have mated almost everyday. Just because we see this, doesn't mean there will be an egg(s). In fact, I am told that this would be the first of its kind on a LIVE cam if it did happen. Yes, eagles can switch mates. We hold on to the statement "Eagles mate for life." Yes, unless there is something that would cause a mate to leave. Nests are the coveted prize. The New Female is strong and Lucy more than likely knew she had no chance to defend her nest. She probably saw this coming long before we ever did.

The New Female (estimated age 5-6 years old) and Larry continue to bond and carry on. Where did she come from? It is likely she is a Wisconsin eagle. I saw her this winter myself. Many think because she is large that she could be from Alaska. She is not from Alaska as this is not a migration route.

Will she stay or will she go? That is the next question in this saga. We wait and see. As for Lucy, it is my belief that she is out there somewhere. She has left the area. No sightings of her have been reported. Could she come back? Maybe, and wouldn't that be something?

 

As always thank you for your time,

 

Darrin Briggs ~ Eagles4kids

 

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April 12, 2014

I have no confirmed sighting of Lucy. Do I think she is still out there? YES. She is strong, smart, and determined. This time of year there is plenty of food around.