Body of D-25, one of the Decorah Eagles, sent to Madison, Wis. f - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Body of D-25, one of the Decorah Eagles, sent to Madison, Wis. for necropsy

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The body of D-25, the youngest Decorah Eagle, was sent to Madison, Wis. Thursday for a necropsy to confirm its manner of death.

Brett Mandernack, manager of the Eagle Valley Nature Preserve, believes the eagle was hit by a vehicle.

"We found it in a grassy area five to six feet off the edge of the shoulder, and there was a raccoon carcass on the road. So we think he was probably feasting on the road kill raccoon and got hit by a car," he said.

The death hit hard for many, as the Decorah Eagles livestream continues to be the most viewed livestream of all time.

"It's always hard when you lose one of those birds, because you do get attached to them, especially when you're following their movements every day. And, so yeah, it kinda gets you," Mandernack said.

As tough as it is to see a beloved bird die so young, Mandernack says it's not that unusual.

"You hope for the best, you know, it's rather long odds that birds make it to adulthood," he said.

Meanwhile, all eyes are now on his brother, D-24.  Many crossing their fingers that he'll survive.

"All of our eggs are in one basket now, that D-24 does well, and makes it through the winter. Hopefully, the odds go up after that. If they've gotten through a full year of survival, they've learned enough skills that hopefully they'll be able to sustain themselves for many years to come," he said.

Because D-25 is such a high visibility bird, Mandernack believes they should have confirmation of his manner of death by early next week.

The Raptor Resource Project posting this week on Facebook that anyone who hits a bird accidentally most likely won't face any criminal charges.

Mandernack says the best thing to do in that situation is to contact the local Sheriff or county conservation officer as soon as possible.

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