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Star Tribune

Young eagle that grew up on Minnesota's EagleCam killed in flight

Caretakers of the EagleCam at the Department of Natural Resources said one of the eagle chicks was killed last week in flight.

A fledgling known as E1 was apparently killed after hitting a powerline structure near its nest July 3 in the metro. Thomas Demma, a photographer who monitors the activity at the nest, reported seeing the lifeless chick, according to the DNR's Nongame Wildlife Program. Xcel Energy was alerted, and retrieved the chick’s body.

“No one witnessed the event. Her wing caught a loop and she was found hanging,” read the blog update, which added that the chick wasn’t electrocuted.

Lori Naumann, who manages the EagleCam program, told the Star Tribune on Monday that there has been an outpouring for E1 (shown above in an image by Demma) and the eagle family on social media. She added that the eagles appeared aware of the loss, too. E2, the second chick this season, flew over the site when E1's carcass was recovered.

E1's fate is unfortunately too common for young wildlife. More than half of eagle chicks die in their first year, according to the Nongame Wildlife Program.

A blog post in mid-June announced their chicks’ first flights from the nest, and the regimen of learning from their parents as they found their independence.

“E1, the older and likely female eagle chick took her maiden flight out of the nest this week.  It was an admirable sail from the nest, through the trees behind the nest.  E2 was clearly surprised by the exit and ran to the other side of the nest to see where it's sibling went. …  

… Later in the day, E1 came back to the nest to hang around for a while, likely looking for food.  As we've mentioned before, during this time, the parents continue to provide food for the chicks, on and off of the nest.  They will teach them how to find food on their own, on the ground and in the water.  The chicks have lots to learn yet, like how to catch thermals in the wind and soar to amazing heights.  They will continue to visit the nest from time to time and may even spend their nights there.  The nest will remain their 'safe spot,' at least for a while, until they venture out completely on their own.”

Almost 80% of the funding for the the Nongame Wildlife Program comes from public donations. The EagleCam and its popularity is a big draw. This year was the seventh season following an eagle family and its nest activity. The Star Tribune reported about the EagleCam and its rabid following earlier in the year.

Hermantown ultramarathoner, 69, got his Superior trail speed mark. Sleep, not so much.

Even with the ticks, black flies, sleep deprivation, blisters, and 310 miles of unrelenting terrain, Michael Koppy had a time on the Superior Hiking Trail.

The Hermantown man set the new speed record (with support) by a trail runner  – a standard known in the outdoors world as the “fastest known time” or FKT. He left the northern terminus on the U.S.-Canada border on May 29 and finished five days, three hours and 44 minutes later at the trail’s southern point near the Wisconsin border and Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton, Minn.

While Koppy, 69, had hoped to complete the attempt in just under four days, he beat the previous mark (six days, eight hours, 30 minutes) by more than a day.

More than a week later, Koppy said he has mostly recovered from the intense endurance run, which tracked out at more than 70,000 feet of elevation by the end.

“The thing I have not recovered from is the sleep deprivation,” said Koppy, who has been catching up these days with frequent naps.

Koppy ran the first full day without sleeping. His strategy then was to get an hour in the morning and an hour at night, but that plan fell apart as the miles stacked up. By the fourth day, fatigued and at times hallucinating, Koppy and his crew realized he should have built in more sleep. He snagged some naps on-trail, but ended up with only about 8 ½ hours all told.

“(The trail) is so rugged. It’s either rocks, roots or mud. And there are so few sections where one of those three are not there.

“One of the hardest parts about this whole thing was the mental concentration. I have to watch every step that I take, and I can never let that down. If I do, I’m going to fall,” he said.

Koppy was a pleased with a second success: His FKT raised money for the Superior Hiking Trail Association, which like so many others has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A little more than $20,000 was collected -- Koppy matched $7,500 in donations and an additional $5,000 came in in support.