North Dakota photographer coordinates effort to save eaglets

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Two young eagles from North Dakota are now in the hands of the University of Minnesota Raptor Center after a photographer coordinated an effort to help save the birds when their nest collapsed.

Photographer Russell Hons says he often takes photos of an eagle's nest in East Grand Forks, North Dakota. When he stopped by the nest on Thursday, he noticed the eagle parents appeared more agitated than usual, but it wasn't until a few days later that he got a chance to take a closer look.

Sunday, he noticed the nest had collapsed and two eaglets, possibly around two months old, were sitting in the middle of the field.

After a series of phones calls with the Raptor Center and using the "power of social media," Hons figured out a way to get the young birds some help. He loaded the two young eagles in a plastic tote and kept them overnight in his garage.

"They did not put up any fight, but were way bigger than I thought they were," said Hons.

On Monday, a deputy from the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office on his day off, put the birds in a dog crate and drove them five hours all the way to St. Paul.

Hons says the young eagles were very calm, but he wasn't sure if they had suffered any injuries.

"Hopefully, they can get the help they need," said Hons. "It's been fun to watch and follow the eagles each year."

Unfortunately, one of the eaglets suffered severe trauma to its elbow and staff at the Raptor Center made the decision to euthanize the bird, according to the executive director at the center. However, the other bird had only minor injuries and is still receiving care.

So far this year, the Raptor Center has treated 250 birds. Each year, the center treats about 1,000 raptors.