Bald Eagle Eaglet: Two Weeks Later

May 18, 2017  •  6 Comments

The Bald Eagle nesting season is almost over in western Pennsylvania.  I thought this is a good time to reflect on two separate visits I made to an Ohio nest about 65 miles west of the Pennsylvania border.

This nest is very unique because the nest tree is situated on a hillside below the road giving birders and photographers a short 70 yard view into the bole of the nest.

On my first visit the single eaglet was a mere two weeks old. Bald EagleBald EagleFemale and Eaglet

 

While one adult was away from the nest most of the time, the mate was usually on the nest or perched nearby.  Here is a rare occurrence when the eaglet was alone and gave its wings a stretch. Bald EagleBald EagleEaglet

 

Below is the male sitting on the nest with the eaglet. Normally, you can identify the female because she is larger than the male.  that is true but this female also has a darkening behind and around her eyes. You will see that in later photos. Bald EagleBald EagleMale and Eaglet

 

The quality of care a Bald Eagle provides for its young is impressive.  Here is “Dear Ol’ Dad” giving warmth to the inquisitive eaglet. Bald EagleBald EagleMale and Eaglet

 

I think the eaglet feels safe with its father. Bald EagleBald EagleMale and Eaglet

Bald EagleBald EagleMale and Eaglet

 

At this age, eaglets are fed quite often.  I imaging it’s because their little bellies can’t hold much food.  Dad was already on the nest when his mate arrived with a half eaten fish. Bald EagleBald EagleMale, Female (behind) and Eaglet down in nest

 

Shortly after mom arrives, the male leaves the nest.

Bald EagleBald EagleMale, Female and eaglet down in nest

 

It’s time for a feeding.

Bald EagleBald EagleFemale feeding Eaglet

 

That was the end of my first visit.  I planned a return soon to see how much the eaglet grew.

I did return to the nest site two weeks later when the eaglet was four weeks old.  Look at the difference in size in a short two weeks.

Bald EagleBald Eagle

 

Even though it was much larger, it is still dependent on an adult to tear apart the food.  The next photo is mom feeding the eaglet.

Bald EagleBald EagleFemale and Eaglet

 

After feeding, the adult fluffs up the grasses in the bole and lays down on top of the eaglet usually causing the eaglet to rest and maybe go to sleep.

Bald EagleBald Eagle

 

Sometimes the eaglet may take a nap and sometimes it stays alert.

Bald EagleBald Eagle

 

It is comical watching the eaglet maneuver around the nest because it hasn’t grown into its feet yet.

Bald EagleBald Eagle

 

It will be quite some time until these wings are large enough and strong enough to take it soaring into the sky.

Bald EagleBald Eagle

 

At this age, it seemed like a change of guardian occurred every 2 hours. Bald EagleBald EagleFemale and Male in nest.

 

Here is mom and eaglet sitting on the nest.

Bald EagleBald EagleFemale and Eaglet

 

I imagine it can get boring waiting for the eaglet to grow up and fledge the nest. 

Bald EagleBald EagleFemale and Eaglet

 

After a nap, it’s feeding time.

Bald EagleBald EagleFemale and Eaglet

 

When the eaglet was two weeks old, I decided to shoot video of the eaglet being fed.  As I was adding a 2X extender to my 600mm prime lens, they finished feeding.  As I began the video, I captured the “after feeding” activity of the parent showing how they prepare the bole for nap time. The second part of this video was recorded two weeks later when the eaglet was four weeks old.  This time I did capture the eaglet being fed.

Click the link below to start the video.  It may take 10 seconds or so to buffer so please be patient after you press start. Bald Eagle

 

Now that the eaglet is getting larger, it gets a little more alone time on the nest.  Below is a photo of the female leaving the nest in route to a nearby branch.

Bald EagleBald EagleFemale

Bald EagleBald EagleFemale

 

She spent nearly 45 minutes alone on the branch. 

Bald EagleBald EagleFemale

 

As her mate approached the nest, she left her perch to explore the surrounding countryside.

Bald EagleBald EagleFemale

 

It was dad’s turn to babysit.

Bald EagleBald EagleMale and Eaglet

 

I’ll wrap up this photo blog with a portrait of the eaglet with its father.

Bald EagleBald EagleMale and Eaglet

 

Thanks for looking,

Dan


Comments

6.Gordon(non-registered)
Well what a fantastic post, terific action and informative photos, I don't think you can be too disapointed about missing the Pelican.
All the best, Gordon.
5.Gary Cusic Bramlet(non-registered)
What fantastic work! You have been blessed! Thank you for sharing!
4.Damian Woodgate(non-registered)
Dan absolutely fantastic, I'm a nest recorder for the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) I find nests of different species of birds and record the data much like yourself. We put cameras on many of our nests to record the nesting behaviour, thanks for that pal. Great stuff.
3.Karen Link(non-registered)
Thanks, Dan for sharing your beautiful pictures. Thanks also for giving me directions to the nest. Thoroughly enjoyed taking their pictures, although mine aren't outstanding like yours LOL.
2.Mark Burkett(non-registered)
Awesome!!!
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