Wildfire scorches refuge but bald eagle pair refuse to abandon eaglet, Iowa photos show

A wildfire scorched trees and fields as it swept across a nature refuge in Iowa, but when the smoke cleared, a heartening surprise stood somehow untouched above the ashes.

The wildfire started when a bolt of lightning struck a dead cottonwood, sparking a blaze near a bald eagle nest that was home to a male and female pair, and their eaglet, according to the DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges. It took three days to contain and extinguish the flames, causing closures, and requiring cleanups in the aftermath.

But despite the eagle’s nest being so close to the source of the wildfire, it survived, seemingly undamaged by the flames roaring all around it, officials said in an April 19 Facebook post, sharing photos.

The bald eagle’s nest.
The bald eagle’s nest.

Not only did the nest survive, the eagle pair still remains and is taking care of their hatchling, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials.

“The fire started close to the nest but wind directions cooperated and pushed the fire away from the eagle nest tree,” they said.

In one photo, a thicket of charred trees can be seen. While the flames seem to have consumed many of the trees almost entirely, a single trunk stands out from the rest, scorched at the bottom but spotless on top.

The fire fully engulfed many trees but some were partially spared.
The fire fully engulfed many trees but some were partially spared.

The eagle’s nest is seen sitting securely in the high branches, seemingly just out of the wildfire’s reach.

Officials decided the birds deserve some special recognition for riding out the fire and sticking by their chick.

“What should we name this pair of eagles after enduring that wildfire?” the refuge asked.

“Smoke and fire,” one commenter said.

“Ember and ash,” said another.

Another suggested, perhaps most appropriately, “Lucky and Fortunate.”

Ostrich named Karen dies after stealing and eating zoo worker’s keys, Kansas zoo says

Massive eagle nest spotted in West Texas amazes wildlife officials. ‘I mean golly’

Rare, ‘uninvited visitor’ seen prowling in the dark outside Oklahoma home, video shows

Odd ‘jelly-like balls’ found in Oklahoma lake — and many more are coming, officials say