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.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

HK in the Nest

Another opportunity to document HK in his Honey Bee nest. He was there for about 1.5 hours while I was there and was still there when I left for the day.

HK landing.

HK almost making eye contact. 
HK feaking.

HK in motion.

Monday, February 27, 2017

HK in the nest. 2.26.17

I found HK all alone in the nest this afternoon. It took a while to find him, as he was hunkered down way inside. But eventually, he showed himself.

Then, showed himself out!

He turned up on a tree, just off S. Independence Blvd.

And left after about 20 minutes. He gave an outstanding fly over! I never tire of these!

Monday, February 20, 2017

HK, Sterling, and some visitors. 2.20.17

Another pretty exciting time at Honey Bee. I found both HK and Sterling together in the cell tower as I arrived. Sterling left first, and was followed promptly by HK.

 I relocated him close to the nest and he offered several portrait opportunities, which I enjoyed immensely.

I went searching for him but instead found an unbanded adult visitor on a tower close to the nest.

When this eagle flew towards the nest I got there in time to see this youngster attempt to land but was promptly driven out by HK I think. This was the closest I have ever been to an eagle in the wild.

When I turned my attention back to the nest, there was one in the nest (pictured) and one in the tree who I could not positively identify. I then left for the day.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

HK and Sterling this weekend plus a juvie visitor

HK and Sterling spent a lot of together time this weekend.  They were on the cell tower.

They chased away a pretty juvie.

And flew around some. This is Sterling.

This is HK.

Sterling turned up on a cypress tree. And promptly left.

They were together on the Osprey nest tower. Lots of photogs saw them there and they showed off. It was 80 degrees! And things were heating up!

They flew to HK's nest together but Sterling left before me. HK is always such a joy to see there though!

He came out for a bit to feak his beak.

And then, HK just waited for her return I think. And I simply watched him as he watched the street activity below.

I don't know if this may be the year where Sterling or another new female comes to this beautiful nest that HK has built. But, it has truly been a special experience watching his life play out on this suburban street and golf course neighborhood in Virginia Beach.

Monday, January 30, 2017

HK at the end of the day

I located HK near the end of the day in a cypress tree. He took off and circled.
And grabbed at a fish down stream.

He disappeared for a while but suddenly reappeared for this nice flyby.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sterling on top

I found HK and Sterling on the cell tower. Suddenly Sterling hopped down and this time she was on top of HK! Being a dominant female, I guess.

Afterwards, they regarded each other. That's Sterling on the right.

HK few down to the Osprey nest tower and picked up a stick in his mouth. He transferred it to his talons in mid air. This was really beautiful to see. He delivered it back to the cell tower.

I left the pair of them there.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

HK and Sterling: Afternoon Delight?

I had been watching HK on a tower.

He flew and suddenly a second eagle appeared on another tower. I drove over there and discovered it was Sterling. They mated or bonded whatever you want to call it.  Very exciting!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

HK Photo Op!

After a couple of failed attempts to find  HK today, I finally located him finishing up a meal in the nest tree.

  He feaked his beak, then flew to a nearby tree.

He walked a branch.

Then feaked his beak several more times! Must have been a messy meal!

He did some preening.

But basically sat around looking gorgeous on a sunny afternoon.