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Posts Tagged ‘Bald Eagle couple’

Most of the year I tend to see individual Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), but recently I have been seeing them in pairs, like this couple that I spotted last week perched on a nesting platform for ospreys at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It will soon be time to occupy a nearby nest.

If you look closely at the two eagles, you will notice that one that the one on the left is smaller in size—I believe that is the male. I do not know if this is the same couple, but an eagle couple successfully raised two eaglets in a nest in a tree that is not that far away from this platform, which housed an active osprey nest last year.

bald eagles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) appear really fierce with their intense eyes and powerful talons and beaks, but they also have their tender moments, as you can see in this image that I captured on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Officials have blocked off an area of the wildlife refuge for the security and privacy of the nesting eagles, but I was able to get this shot by shooting over the barrier with a long telephoto zoom lens and by cropping the image.

The female eagle, which I believe is the larger one on the right, seems to be sitting much higher than she was several weeks ago, making me wonder if one or more egg might have already hatched. A few moments before I captured this image, she was repeatedly lowering her head down into the nest and then raising it. Perhaps she was just eating, but I like to imagine that she was feeding an eaglet.

From what I have read, eagles mate for life and actually are quite affectionate with each other. Additionally, they share the responsibilities for sitting on the eggs and for raising the young. I am somewhat more familiar with some duck species, where the female is left with responsibility for caring for the ducklings, and it really causes me to admire the devotion and commitment of the eagles to each other.

So what about you and the ones that you love? Do you get weary? Maybe we too should follow the words of the classic Otis Redding song and “Try a Little Tenderness.”

Bald Eagles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Do you take photos only when the weather conditions are optimal? If I followed that rule, I’d be staying at home most of the time. This winter in particular, it seems like I am at work on all of the days with good weather. So often I will choose to go out with my camera when I am free and not when the weather is good.

One particular morning last week it was really foggy and visibility was extremely limited. The subjects that I could see were hazy and indistinct, utterly lacking in contrast. It’s hard to know how what camera setting to use in situations like those.

I was at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, my favorite spot this winter for wildlife photography, and as usual I managed to spot some Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). It is always a challenge to photograph the eagles, because they tend to perch a good distance away from the trails that I follow and they are often quite skittish.

In this case, the difficulties were magnified, because of the heavy fog/mist. I ended up processing the images that I captured in a number of different ways, attempting at times to enhance the contrast or eliminate some of the fog, with varying degrees of success.

Here are a few of my favorite shots of the eagles in the mist.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Is this love or anger or a bit of both? Relationships of any sort are complicated and I don’t know enough about eagle behavior to interpret the interaction between these two Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) that I observed one morning last week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Sharp-eyed reader viewers may have noted that these two eagles are perched on the same branch where I previously photographed an eagle couple. The branch is part of a tree in which there is a nest that I am now relatively certain is an eagle nest. It is a pretty good distance off of the path and partially hidden, so I am hoping that the wildlife will judge that passing humans won’t unduly disturb what may become nesting eagles and will leave the path open.

As for the behavior, I must admit that I am a bit romantic and couldn’t help but note how the space between their beaks forms a heart. I’m voting therefore for love.

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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No matter how much you love someone, minor squabbles are virtually inevitable and sometimes they can get quite heated. I am not sure what was being discussed, but the members of this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) couple seemed to have differing views that they defended loudly and emphatically on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

In many ways this photo embodies what I most love to capture when I go out with my camera. Although it is wonderful to capture a static subject, it is even more wonderful to capture some action or even better some interaction. I think viewers are drawn into the drama and emotion of the moment and creatively try to imagine what was going on in the photo. Are these angry birds? Is this how eagles express love? We, of course, can’t know the true explanation for the behavior that I document, but that sense of mystery and incertitude can sometimes further stimulate our imagination.

I didn’t see this couple kiss and make up, but a short time later they took off together, apparently having resolved whatever problem had prompted their little squabble.

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was tracking a pair of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) yesterday in the sky over Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I was surprised when they landed in the distance on the ice. I have no idea why they did so, but they stood there on the ice for a long time.

Were they just chilling? Did they want to try ice skating? Could they see a fish through the ice? I have lots of questions and few answers, but it was definitely a cool sighting.

Bald Eagles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) perched on the top of a post this morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge looked for a moment like it was going to pounce on another eagle that had just landed on a platform attached to the post. Apparently the larger eagle, almost certainly, decided she had something to say to her mate and was merely hopping down to his level and she landed really close to him.

The female eagle seemed unhappy with him and made several loud cries in his direction. He just stood there and took it and in the third shot has the look of a henpecked husband. Apparently she also told him that he needed to perch on the upper post. Perhaps this is the eagle equivalent of sleeping on the couch.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles

Bald  Eagles

Bald Eagles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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