HK Builds His Nest

HK Builds His Nest

Sunday, September 10, 2017

HK: March 21, 2009 - September 9, 2017

In 2011, I was the first local photographer to observe banded Bald Eagle “HK” at Honey Bee Golf Club in VA Beach. Within a couple of weeks, his band had been identified and my love affair with HK was underway. I have spent countless hours watching HK and I have taken thousands of photos of him and of other visiting Bald Eagles since then.
A little background: HK was hatched at the Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG) in 2009. There were 3 eaglets born that year and they were all banded at the nest, an event that was watched world wide via the NBG Eagle Cam. I have been an avid Eagle cam watcher through the years. The name HK comes from the band letters on his purple band. His 2 sisters were banded HE (who eventually nested with her own father) and HH (who was also fitted with a transmitter). HK  is also full biological brother to Wildlife Center of Virginia Wildlife Ambassador "Buddy." Buddy was hatched at NBG in 2008. They are also both siblings to NBG Eaglets NV, NX, and NZ, who were rehabilitated at WCV after their mother, the original NBG female, was killed by an incoming plane at the Norfolk airport in April, 2011.
HK built a beautiful nest on the Honey Bee Golf Club in Virginia Beach in 2013. It was widely anticipated that he would nest there with his “long-time girlfriend,” banded Bald Eagle “Sterling.” It never happened. Sterling visited the area often and I witnessed bonding/mating behavior between them but no eggs were ever laid in that nest even though HK religiously delivered nesting material there every nesting season. It was thought that Sterling had a nest at Stumpy Lake in VA Beach, about a mile away, but HK was never observed at that nest, as far as I know.
Last week, HK was hit by a car on a busy road at the Honey Bee entrance. I have watched him at that location hundreds of times. He was swooping down to scavenge roadkill, and the accident was unavoidable. A personal friend of mine, Rose Chandler was the first wildlife rehabilitator on the scene and she quickly rescued HK. Rose contacted me immediately. HK was transported to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, suffering a broken leg and possible internal injuries. Surgery was performed on his broken leg a few days later, complications set in, and HK died while under anesthesia during a second procedure.
I am broken hearted today, but also grateful for the opportunity to be up close and personal many times with HK and the other Eagles that passed through his life at Honey Bee. I learned so much and met so many wonderful people! I shall miss him like an old friend but never will I forget the extraordinary moments I had with this Bald Eagle, the thousands of photographs I had the pleasure of taking of him in his natural urban habitat, and the opportunity to share these photos with people all over the world, especially the children I communicated with. Godspeed, HK.  Fly on your new angel wings! You will always be in my heart.

Fly on your new angel wings, HK

HK's nest is empty and my heart is broken. I received the tragic news last night that HK died during a second surgical procedure to stabilize his injuries and save his life. The staff at the Wildlife Center of Virginia pulled out all the stops, but it was just not meant to be. Godspeed, HK. I will miss you.

Friday, September 1, 2017

HK Is Seriously Injured

I was notified early this morning by my friend Rose Chandler, that  HK had been hit by a car outside Honey Bee Golf Club. HK was attempting to pick up a dead squirrel in the road. He was rescued by Rose, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.  HK was then transported to a local veterinarian, his injuries evaluated, and then transferred to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro. I've been in touch with WCV and as I write this, HK is being evaluated by their team. I do know that he has a broken leg, injuries to both feet, congestion in the lungs, and some bleeding from the mouth and trachea, all consistent with an automobile collision. So, like you, I am anxiously awaiting an update from WCV.
The attached pictures are of HK and Rose, his rescuer at the scene this morning. Please join me on praying for the recovery of HK. Photos by Marie Carr.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A surprise to find HK on one of his favorite towers. This one is within sight of his nest, from his perspective. The Osprey have been active, so HK sightings will begin to diminish.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A "baby" Eagle visits Honey Bee

I had heard from a friend in the area that a young eagle had been a frequent visitor.  I went to check today and did find this immature Eagle perched in a tree.

It did not stay long but did provide a nice flyby.

This was the only Eagle I observed.