- The Washington Times - Monday, June 16, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — The first four bald eagles introduced here last summer met tragic or uncertain fates: One was hit by a train and died; one was shot and wounded; and two haven’t been seen since September.

Undeterred, city parks officials on Thursday flew in four baby bald eagles from Wisconsin, trying a second time to return the endangered bird to the big city.

Alexander Brash, chief ranger for the city’s Urban Parks Service, said it takes three to five years for the eagles to adapt to their new surroundings. He hopes, he said, that “last year’s birds and this year’s birds will be back.”

Like last year’s eaglets, the birds were plucked from their nests in Wisconsin, which has one of the nation’s highest bald eagle populations. The eaglets, 5 to 7 weeks old, were flown into the New York area in cardboard-covered plastic kennels and driven to Inwood Hill Park in northern Manhattan.

Park ranger Tom Cullen removed the eaglets and attached U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bands to their yellow claws. The eagles were moved to two tree houses, called hack boxes, to live for the next several weeks.

While the eaglets are in the boxes, rangers will feed them by dumping food through holes in the boxes. The intent is to make sure the eaglets don’t see their caretakers, so they won’t learn to associate human beings with their food supply.

Once the birds are freed, Mr. Brash said, the park’s officials will keep track of them with tiny radio transmitters and cameras set up at the tree house.

The idea of returning eagles to the city was born just after September 11, while urban park rangers were rescuing animals trapped in buildings.

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