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Posts Tagged ‘bald eagle babies’

As some of you know, I have been monitoring two Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nests this spring at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This past month I have devoted most of my photography time to dragonflies, so yesterday I grabbed my long lens and headed off to the refuge, hoping to see some baby eagles. One of the nests is huge and has high walls, so it is hard to know what, if anything, is going on inside it.

I waited and waited and finally the head of an eaglet popped up over the edge of the nest. As I reviewed the first photo, I noticed that there is another eaglet on the other side of the tree trunk, just a little lower. (You may need to click on the image to spot the second eaglet.) Both of the baby birds were facing the tree trunk and I soon learned why.

It turns out that one of there was an adult eagle behind the tree trunk. In the second image, it looks like the adult eagle, whose only visible part was its beak, was giving a bite of food to one eaglet while its sibling looked out from the other side of the tree trunk and did not seem very happy about the situation.

In the final shot, you get a better look at the adult eagle and a partial view of one of the eaglets. I now know for sure that there are at least two eaglets in that nest—some years there have been three eaglets. As the eaglets get older, I hope they will be more active and curious and that will allow me to get some better shots of them.

eaglet

eaglet

bald eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Even from a distance it is easy to see that the eaglets in one of nests at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge are no longer babies. When I saw them this past weekend, one of them was still hanging around in the nest, but the other had ventured out to a higher limb. I am posting an image of each of the two eaglets as well as a shot that shows their relative positions. As you can see, there are now a lot of leaves on the trees and I suspect that most folks walking by on the trail are not even aware of the presence of the nest.

The little eagles are still mostly brown in color—it will take almost five years for them to acquire the white feathers on their heads and on their tails that we associate with adult Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The two Bald Eagle eaglets whose development I have been following are getting really big—it looks like they are about ready to attempt to fly. In the upper left corner of the first image, you can see that one of the parents was perched just above the nest. It seems like there is no longer room for either of the parents in the nest, but at least one of them always seems to be nearby, watching over the eaglets

There is a barrier at the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge near the eagle nest that keeps people from getting close and protects the Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) from human interference., From that barrier, however, I am able to see into the nest with my 150-600mm telephoto zoom lens, though the leaves on the trees are now making it quite a bit tougher to get an unobstructed shot than a  month ago. For comparison purposes, I am including a shot of the eaglets that I took three weeks earlier than the more recent image that I captured this past Monday.

Bald Eagle eaglets

Bald Eagle eaglets

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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