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Posts Tagged ‘eaglets’

I was thrilled on Tuesday to get a glimpse of several juvenile Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I think that they are the eaglets that were born earlier this year and now it looks like they are almost fully grown. It will take a few more years, however, before they acquire the white feathers on their heads that make them look like they are bald.

The first eaglet was hanging out in the nest when I first spotted it, as you can see in the first shot. There is so much vegetation now that it is hard to see the nest, but I know that it is there. I wasn’t quite ready when the eagle took off so my second shot is a little blurry. I decided to included it, because it provides a pretty cool look at the feathers of this already majestic bird.

The final shot is of what I assume is one of the siblings of the eaglet in the first two shots. Based on a conversation that I had with one of the volunteers at the wildlife refuge, there may have been three eaglets at this nest this year (and two in a nest in another part of the refuge).

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Now that the foliage on the trees  is full, it is hard for me to monitor the status of the baby eagles in several Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nests at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. On Wednesday, however, I detected some motion as I was peering at one of the nests and realized that it was the flapping of an eaglet’s wings. I managed to find a visual tunnel through which my view was mostly unobstructed and was able to capture this view of two eaglets. I was shocked to see how big they have grown and suspect that they soon will be flying.

The nest is probably too small to hold the adults along with the youngsters—what I would call “full nest” syndrome, i.e. the opposite of the more commonly known “empty-nest” syndrome. The second image shows one of the presumed parents perching on a higher branch of the tree in which the nest is located.

Bald Eagle eaglets

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 eaglets in one of the two nests that I have been monitoring at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge appear to be almost full grown, but both of the parents were still keeping a watchful eye on them this past Saturday.

On this day I was shooting with my Canon SX50 superzoom camera and was able to zoom out and give you a sense of the relative position of the nest and the branches on which the adult Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) were perched. I have featured this perch, which appears to be a favorite spot for these eagles, several times in this blog, but to the best of my knowledge this is the first time to show you the nest itself.

As you can see, the leaves have returned to the trees and it is getting harder and harder to get unobstructed shots of the eagle nest. I was hoping to get a shot of both of the eaglets, but the second one remained elusive and was hidden from view the entire time that I observed the eagles.

It would also have been nice to shoot from an angle in which the lighting was better, but essentially there was only a single location from which I had a clear visual path to the nest. I did change position for the shot of the two adults—the lighting was somewhat better, though I was still shooting through a tangle of branches. Sometimes you just have to take what you get and make the best of it.

Bald Eagle eaglet

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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