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NORFOLK -- The images on Wednesday at Norfolk Botanical Garden were sad -- a lone male eagle soaring over an empty nest, three women laying flowers at the base of the tree that held the nest, and the eaglets being removed one by one and taken to the Virginia Wildlife Center in Waynesboro, Virginia.

'We have been in contact with the Wildlife Center Of Virginia and they're ready, willing and able to take these birds on. They're preparing a space for them and the ultimate goal will be to release these animals back into the wild,' said Steven Living of the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries Department.

The male eagle brought food back to the nest but officials worried that this was a 'critical time' and one of the eaglets probably would not survive if just the male was bringing in the food supply.

'He certainly responded well,' said conservation biologist Reese Lukei. 'Took him a little long to come back into the nest yesterday but this is one of the options and hopefully we'll get the birds back down here to release them when they're ready to fly,' he added.

Even the Nuckols Tree Service guys who donated their time to retrieve the eaglets were having a rough time dealing with the situation.

'It's been a heartbreaker and yesterday was a pretty bad evening. It's like losing one of your kids,' said owner Tim Nuckols.

They say the lone eagle is in mourning. That's the way the women laying flowers at the base of the tree felt.

'It was just our way of saying soar high momma. We'll carry on,' concluded Cindy Jenkins.

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