Baby bald eagle’s fall causes closure at part of Shiloh National Military Park

SHILOH, Tenn. — A baby bald eagle landed at Shiloh National Military Park, but now it needs a little nest rest.

Part of Shiloh National Military Park is closed to the public access for now after an eaglet fell from its nest Tuesday, the National Park Service said.

Dale Wilkerson, superintendent of the park, says they have a variety of species in the park but one soars above the rest.

"Having eagles is a special thing," Wilkerson said. "Because it is the national bird, so many people are interested in them and it is quite majestic to see them flying and be able to see it up close."

Two eagles named Hiram and Julia — Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's given name was Hiram and his wife was named Julia — have been nesting in the northeast part of the park for more than 10 years.

One of their offspring lost its footing while testing its wings and fell nearly 70 feet.

Vistors noticed that the eaglet had broken its fall by grabbing a branch and landed on its legs with the wings stretched out.

Rangers closed down Hamburg-Savannah Road and the area known as Cloud field Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson says that the closure was necessary for the protection of the wildlife and "to let the adults do what they need to do for raising their chicks on the ground."

"We take great care in making sure we protect and manage those species, so whenever we have a time we have a conflict between humans and animal species within the park we almost always will favor the animals species," Wilkerson said.

Eagles mate for life and although they haven't always laid eggs, this year they laid a clutch of three.

All three managed to hatch, Wilkerson said, but one of the fledglings didn't surviv  e.

"The other two have been growing and thriving ever since and they are now approaching what we call fledge statues. Which is when they'll take their first flight," Wilkerson said.

Eagles typically fly between 10 to 12 weeks, and the two eaglets are at about nine weeks.

After leaving the eaglet overnight and observing it the next morning, the rangers reported that the little guy, or girl, was moving normally and that it must have only received minor damage.

"It's not an unusual thing it's just most times the Eagles will glide out of the nest as oppose to fall," Wilkerson said. "The parents are used to this. They understand how to feed and care for the bird while it's on the ground and it's not abnormal form their standpoint."

The Hamburg-Savannah Road will be closed to commuters and visitors until the eaglet has learned to fly and is able to get to the river.

Jay Turner of Shiloheagles.com allowed WREG to use his photos for this story.