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Tragedy strikes Standley Lake bald eagle nest for 2nd year in a row

The two eaglets that were born there this month have died, according to Standley Lake Regional Park.

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — For the second year in a row, the bald eagle parents who live at Standley Lake have lost their offspring.

Two eaglets known as SL2 and SL3 have died, though there's no way to know how or why it happened, according to Standley Lake Regional Park.

The eaglets were about 2 to 3 weeks old and were visible above the rim of the nest, deep in the Standley Lake wildlife refuge. They were very well-cared for by their parents, the park said Monday on Facebook.

> The video above aired when the eaglets hatched earlier this month.

In the past week, nest-watchers noticed a lack of activity at the nest. The mother eagle, known as F420, was feeding herself but wasn't providing food to the nest, and neither parent was spending time on the nest, the park said.

A ground search was conducted in coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), but no eaglet carcass was found.

"Without a carcass and the opportunity to do testing, there is no way for us to know how or why the eaglets died," according to the park. "This is heartbreaking for all of us."

RELATED: Eaglet hatches in nest of famous Colorado bald eagle pair

The Standley Lake nest became well-known in recent years due to a live camera installed in 2016 that allowed anyone in the world to watch the eagles' daily lives.

F420 and her beau suffered tragedy last May when the tree that supported their nest split down the middle, causing the nest to collapse and killing their lone offspring.

After the nest collapse, F420 and the father built a new nest deeper in the wildlife refuge where cameras don't reach. The park now has a live camera that points at Bird Island.

Anyone looking for a nonintrusive way to watch a bald eagle nest can check out the Fort Saint Vrain eagle nest on the live Xcel Eagle Cam. Two eaglets in that nest, known as FSV45 and FSV46, are about two weeks old.

There are dozens of bald eagle breeding pairs in the region. According to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife, there are 122 bald eagle nests in the northeast portion of the state.

RELATED: Cottonwood tree with bald eagle nest falls at Barr Lake

That was a huge increase from the end of the 1970s, when Colorado had only three known bald eagle nests, and none on the Front Range.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said that people who travel to see a nest need to follow 'Leave No Trace' principles:

  • Stay on designated trails. Be aware of closed sections of trails that are in place to protect nesting locations.
  • Keep a proper buffer distance from wildlife. If you're altering the behavior of the animal, you're too close. Use a telephoto lens to "get closer."
  • Don't feed or bait wildlife to attract them.
  • Don't use recorded calls to attract birds to an area.
  • Don't alter the scene for a photo (or for any reason). Leave all objects, leaves, branches, rocks, etc. where they are.

RELATED: New Standley Lake live cam replaces the popular Eagle Cam

RELATED: Eaglet at Standley Lake dies after nest collapses



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