Two seven-week-old bald eagle chicks were unexpectedly taken from their nest off the California coastline.
It happened at Pelican Harbor on Santa Cruz Island when an attacking sub-adult bald eagle attacked the two eaglets, said a park official Tuesday.
Yvonne Menard, of Channel Islands National Park, said anxious eagle enthusiasts watched intently via the Channel Islands Live EagleCAM on Monday as the young eaglets attempted to defend them selves.
Within minutes of their first encounter with the invading sub-adult bald eagle, one of the chicks was snatched from the nest.
About an hour later, the second chick was knocked out of the nest, falling 30 feet below.
"This is a rare occurrence, I have never seen anything like this in my career as an eagle biologist," said Dr. Peter Sharpe with the Institute for Wildlife Studies. "The EagleCAM allows us and enthusiasts to observe live bald eagle behavior and learn more than previously known."
Menard said EagleCAM watchers quickly notified IWS biologists who were nearby, having just returned from conducting eagle surveys offshore.
A team of four biologists briskly hiked out to the nest site and found the two young bald eagle chicks under brush on the ground below the nest.
A quick assessment revealed that one of the young birds suffered a possible broken wing and the other a cracked bill.
To calm the birds, the biologists placed hoods over their heads and carefully swaddled them for transport to a temporary care facility on the island.
On Tuesday, the pair was flown to a veterinary facility in Orange County, California to fully assess the extent of their injuries.
The eagle chicks will not be returned to their nest near Pelican Harbor, Menard said.
Once the chicks have recovered from their injuries, they will likely be placed in a "hack tower" on Santa Cruz Island.