There is an eagle nest near my house and I’ve had a great deal of fun watching and photographing the coming and goings of the family. This was the pair’s first offspring and as new parents they were quite attached to the new arrival. They could often be seen returning to the nest at the same time with food for the eaglet. In fact they were so attentive that they would jostle each other out of the way to be the one doing the feeding.
The eaglet has rapidly grown and at 11 weeks is larger than both of the parents, like I said a well-fed eagle. Over the past 2 weeks the eaglet has been doing lots of stretching and wing flapping and some small hovering, really more like slow hops than a hover. However, it had not flown or even left the nest for nearby branches, when the unthinkable occurred. The eaglet tumbled out of the nest! It somehow managed to land on a small broken limb about half way down the tree. Unfortunately, this new perch was barely there and far too small for the adults to land on to feed the eaglet. The poor eaglet was there for 24 hours and by that time the news was out. These eagles are neighborhood celebrities and their fans were coming up with all sorts of rescue ideas. Fish and Game had been summoned to see what could be done to help get the eaglet back in the nest with its parents.
Leave it to mother nature, one of the adults brought a fish back and flew low and slow over the distressed eaglet and then…the eaglet flew! And she flew about 75 yards to the oak tree that the adult had landed in with the fish. Never underestimate the power of food… or devoted parents for that matter. The eaglet had now landed in the top of the oak and was in a not very secure spot, certainly not someplace it could stay for any period of time. Again teaching by example, the adults took the now rather ragged fish and flew over the eaglet a couple of times and then back to the nest. They did this twice and the eaglet launched itself from the tree and made a lazy circle around the pond and came in for a near perfect landing, safely in the nest.
For first time parents these 5 yr. old eagles seem to have it all figured out and their eaglet really learned how to fly like an eagle at just the right time!
The eagle family will be gone, soon but I am sure that they will back next winter, so stay tuned! In the mean time you can enjoy all of my eagle photography and order prints if you’d like…HERE.