On March 22, 2008 a bald eagle egg was laid in the nest at Norfolk Botanical Garden, the fifth of the breeding season for the eagle pair. The first two eggs of their first clutch were abandoned as the result of both adults being driven off their nest by an intruding female transitional fifth year eagle. The NBG pair returned to lay two more eggs in a second clutch, but they were crushed on March 20 about midnight when the female was startled. Their third egg of the second clutch was laid two days later and successfully hatched April 27, 2008, and was growing normally until a growth was noticed on its upper mandible resulting in his removal from the nest on May 22, 2008 . He was then taken to the Wildlife Center of Virginia where it was determined that the growth was avian pox and his bill had been severely deformed by the growth.
Today “Buddy” as he is known, made a return visit to Norfolk Botanical Garden during the Bald Eagle Festival almost 4 years after being removed from his nest. “Buddy” is being trained at the Wildlife Center of Virginia to be a wildlife ambassador. His return to Norfolk Botanical Garden was truly a triumph in many ways. Here are a few of my photos of his return. Photos copyright by Reese F Lukei Jr.