Bald Eagle nest: Plymouth County

June 15, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I1125-001Had a nice visit by kayak to a Bald Eagle nest in Plymouth County with a pair of eaglets.  In terms of size and shape they appear to be close to fledging time.  The other eaglet was resting and almost out of sight in the nest.  The adult female was perched not far away on a tree snag.  Here’s a quick recap of the timeline for growth in an eagle chick:

The young birds grow rapidly, they add one pound to their body weight every four or five days. At about two weeks, it is possible for them to hold their head up for feeding. By three weeks they are 1 foot high and their feet and beaks are very nearly adult size.  Between four and five weeks, the birds are able to stand, at which time they can began tearing up their own food.  At six weeks, the eaglets are very nearly as large as their parents.  At eight weeks, the appetites of the young birds are at their greatest. While parents hunt almost continuous to feed them, back at the nest the eaglets are beginning to stretch their wings in response to gusts of wind and may even be lifted off their feet for short periods.

This pair of eaglets are in wing stretching mode and ready for flight very soon!

Bald Eagle nest: Essex County

June 15, 2017 in Bald Eagle

As the Bald Eagle chicks grown in size the nest starts to become very crowded!  The 3 chicks are now very close to fledge time. The female remains near the nest and on watch most of the time.

Eaglets are nestlings for 10 to 12 weeks. By the time they are 9 weeks old, they are fully grown.

Some scientists did a study keeping track of all the time that the parent eagles spent at the nest. Once the babies hatched, the female was present at the nest about 90% of the time. The male was present about 50% of the time. During the study, at least one of the parents was at the nest almost all the time.

The young nestlings are directly fed raw meat starting day one. Eagles do not regurgitate food to feed their young like some other animals do.During the first two weeks, the male provides most of the food. After 3 or 4 weeks, the female provides as much food as the male, and by the late nesting period, the female provides most of the food.

Bald Eagle nest: Essex County

June 12, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I9444-001The 3 Bald Eagle chicks continue to grow in size and shape. Adults will feed their chicks directly until the eaglets are five to six weeks old, when the young are able to tear pieces of food off and feed themselves.

By age 5 weeks, male and female parents bring relatively equal amounts of food. Parents begin spending more time away from the young and often perch in nearby trees. By six weeks the young are able to stand and walk, and by seven weeks maximum body growth nearing completion.

At eight weeks, they are at their hungriest and are ready to fly by week twelve. By the time chicks are 9 weeks old, they are fully grown. Chicks continue on the nest gaining strength for 10 to 12 weeks.

Bald Eagle Essex County nest #1: nestling!

April 11, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4285-001A late afternoon visit to Bald Eagle nest #1 in Essex county for nice looks at the young eagle nestling.  Rough estimate that this young baby eagle is about 3-4 weeks old.  No sign yet that there is another young bird in the nest.  This was a moment when the adults were not in the nest and the the young nestling was up and about checking out the local surroundings!

Bald Eagle Essex County nest #2

April 11, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4186-001A stunning morning with cobalt blue skies, bright sun, winds from the south at 8MPH, and temps in low 60’s.  Observed  a beautiful adult Bald Eagle near an occupied nest, taking a break while the mate incubated eggs.  Hatch time for this nest is right about now and we should see signs of feeding young over next few days!

Bald Eagle adult perched Merrimack River

April 4, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I1111-001On a cloudy overcast morning with light rain, winds from the East at 16MPH, gusting 25MPH and temps reaching 40F, was surprised to find an adult Bald Eagle perched in a tree overlooking the Merrimack River.  For most local Bald Eagles, it is nesting time and time for protecting the nest habitat unless not there yet!  This perched Eagle was in North Andover seen from the Incinerator Rd ballfield complex next to the Essex county Pre-Release Center in Lawrence, MA.

Bald Eagle: female on nest

April 3, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I0866-001Under bright sun, blue skies, light wind and temps close to 60F, was able to observe this female Bald Eagle who has been incubating for the past month.  At this point in calendar, likely use has hatched at least one egg and the young eaglet is now growing!

Bald Eagles around nest

March 30, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I9698-001Made an morning visit to Bald Eagle nest and observed both male and female both perched and in flight around the nest while sitting and watching from a distance under clear skies, bright sun, light winds from NW and temps in mid-thirties.  Both adult Eagles were seen with leg bands but unable to make any positive ID on the leg band codes during this visit!

Bald Eagle adults in nest!

March 29, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I9311-001An unexpected treat to find both male and female hunkered down in the nest together late afternoon. Observed this pair under partly cloudy skies, wind from the north at 12 MPH and temps in low 40’s.  Very likely that at least one eaglet has already hatched but not big enough yet to be seen at edge of nest!

Bald Eagle Essex County nest #1: with fish

March 23, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I7590-001Sixty to ninety percent of a bald eagle’s diet consists of fish. The birds generally scavenge dead fish, although they will catch live fish as well. The bald eagle is an opportunist and will sometimes steal fish from an osprey or crow. But ospreys have been observed stealing fish from young eagles as well. The bald eagle uses several fishing techniques. A favorite method is to perch in a tree and watch for a fish swimming in open water nearby, and then swoop down to capture it. If a suitable tree is not available near the water for perching, the birds may also fly out over open water looking for fish below. In winter, they may perch on the edge of ice near open water and wait for fish to float by, or to wash up on the ice.  After catching a fish the eagle fly back to a perching tree to eat it, bring it back to the nest, or if the fish is small enough, swallow the fish whole while the bird is in flight. Occasionally, eagles will carry a larger fish they have caught back to the ice or to the shore to be eaten. In over 80% of their feeding, wintering bald eagles along the Merrimack River, feed upon small fish they can eat while flying.