On Saturday, we caught our first glimpse of a young eaglet over on our eagle nest. This makes the eighth consecutive year that a pair of nesting bald eagles has hatched at least one youngster. The above photo is from 2017. In 2012, we were so surprised when a pair of Bald Eagles made their nest on a platform build for Osprey nesting, and even more excited to see the chick hatch in the spring. Since then, we consider it our great privilege to watch them care for the young birds until they fledge each spring.
It took me a few days to get you actual photos of this youngster: between the rain this weekend, and fog on Tuesday, it was Wednesday before I could actually capture some footage. We have a pretty good view of what’s going on through our scope, but we are a quarter mile away, and my little (amazing) canon sx60 was able to get some quick video and a shot or two. It was windy, and we are both three stories up in the air with a lot of space between.
Here is some footage of the whole process over the years.
It’s been a week or so since anyone has seen the adult Bald Eagles anywhere near the nest, and I suspect the baby (who is now an adult-sized Juvenile) has been capable of flying and feeding himself for a while. He’s noisy, though… crying or calling out repeatedly. We have wondered if he is okay, but from the far side of the impoundment, it looks like he’s only there sometimes. Again, we haven’t been sure– for such a large bird, he can really hunker down into the edges of the platform and it will appear vacant, until a wing pops up on the edge. Most of the nesting sticks are gone: there was some discussion at coffee about whether the mother bird removed some so he would leave the nest (and then some more discussion about why that was a good idea when applied to humans) but most of the sticks may have blown off in that last tropical storm. Sticks or no, the juvenile eagle has been atop the pole most evenings and mornings.
So, Ted and I headed over to check on the baby with my camera. Approaching from the beach side of the island, we found the juvenile perched at the edge of the platform, calling again. We switched around to the forest side of the island, and found him stretching his wings on the edge.
He appears to gather his nerves:
Ted says, “Woo-hoo!!! There he goes!!!
It was unexpectedly emotional for us, as we high-fived each other: both for being there to see it and for the eagle’s flight. Something like pride, as if we had anything to do with it! Nonetheless, we soared a little, too.