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An egg hatches and an eagle is born in the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden...learn what happened next

COURTESY OF CSRG - The survivor of the two eaglet was photographed in the Rhododendron Garden before it achieved the ability to fly. Brandon Baker, new Executive Director of the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, reports receipt of a $2,000 general operational grant from the Jackson Foundation – and shared a fact common to both the origin of the historic Garden and this grant. He told THE BEE, "Sam Jackson, owner of the former Oregon Journal newspaper, and whose widow, Maria C. Jackson formed the Jackson Foundation in 1960, initially donated 27 acres on S.W. Terwilliger Boulevard for a rhododendron garden – but the site was deemed unsuitable because of its steep terrain.

"The garden was later located here, at 5801 S.E. 28th Avenue, just west of Reed College. So there is a multi-generational connection between the Jackson family and the current garden. This grant provides operating support for the coming fiscal year – to continue to cultivate mental and physical wellness, inspire conservation, and showcase an outstanding collection of rhododendrons. The garden serves as a refuge for both humans and wildlife alike."

Baker also had more information on the bald eagles which had been nesting at the top of a hundred foot tall fir tree at the north end of the garden. Due to the extreme heat during June, temperatures on the unprotected nest climbed well beyond the official all-time Portland record of 116 degrees – and, as a result, the two nearly-full-grown eaglets, presumably overheated and dehydrated, abandoned their nest several weeks early – ahead of their ability to fly.

"On June 29," Baker disclosed, "Portland Parks & Recreation staff found one of the eaglets caught in the slats of a park bench below the nest, with an injured leg. After they freed the bird, they took it to the Audubon Society Rehab Center to be assessed. The second eaglet was subsequently found in the pond, and deemed to have made it to the ground intact. It was hydrating, and was able to get out of the water on its own."

"For the first week, no one ever saw the second eaglet being fed by its parents. However, it was getting stronger, had been preening its downy feathers, and did show signs that it had been eating. Eventually, CSRG volunteers were relieved to see early morning feeding taking place by its parents. While there was concern about danger to the young bird from potential predators, the eaglet strolled the garden on foot for about two weeks.

"By mid-July, the eaglet had fledged, and flew about fifteen feet up into a tree on the nearby Eastmoreland Golf Course. As it gained confidence in flying, it made its way back to the nest. There, the parents continued to feed it for about a month, until it grew its primary flight feathers. The parents likely taught the eaglet until about September, after which it made its own way," said Baker.

"However the other, injured, eaglet was not so fortunate. After surgery at the Oregon Zoo, it succumbed to 'capture myopathy'. The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden staff, our volunteers, and our visitors hope for another bald eagle brood next season."


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