2 Bald Eagle adults and 1 fledgling!

August 15, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4213-001Had a nice chance to observe two adult Bald Eagles and a fledgling this morning, along the Merrimack River in Essex County. The fledgling leaped up into flight from rocks along the river bed. It then hopped from one perch to another and then remained in place for a while under overcast skies, light rain, winds from SW at 5MPH, high humidity, and temp just above 70F.

After leaving the nest, fledgling Bald Eagles are not very adept at catching fish. They pick up dead fish along shorelines first, and then progress to picking up dead fish floating in rivers and lakes. It may take months for a young fledgling to start catching its own live fish, and much longer for it to become reliable at fishing. So young eagles must spend more time fishing to catch the same number of fish as adults. For these fledglings, the first months in flight are a time of enormous learning and exploring the world around them.

This fledgling was one of 3 eaglets that hatched and fledged early in the second week of July.  So this young Eagle has had about 5 weeks on the wing and will become less dependent on parents for food in weeks ahead.

Bald Eagle juveniles on the Merrimack River

August 9, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4052-001The 3 fledgling Bald Eagles continue to be seen along the Merrimack River in Essex County.  They remain fairly close to the general nest site location and seem to maintain a lessening dependence on the parents for food.  After fledging, they were very vocal and begging for food.  The incessant cries for food have diminished as they continue to develop flight skills and began finding food on their own.  Observed this fledgling, circling over the river in bright morning sun! Another fledgling was nearby along with one adult.

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 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, Essex County nest #2: female on eggs

March 23, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I7236-001A lovely sight to observe this female Bald Eagle on next with eggs.  She is hunkered down in the nest and takes infrequent trips away from nest for quick bathroom breaks and feeding runs. Throughout the 33-35 day incubation period, one parent is always on the nest, not only to keep the eggs warm but to protect them from squirrels and gulls which would relish the chance to break open and eat the eagle’s eggs!

Bald Eagle: Haggetts Pond subadult!

March 15, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4175-001An unexpected treat while making a visit Haggets Pond in Andover on the west side of Rt. 93 heading north just before Rt. 495.  A subadult Bald Eagle flew into a tree next to the water treatment main building with a freshly caught fish in its talons.  A subadult like this one, requires further study in order to make a good guess as to the age of the Eagle!

Haggetts Pond is the reservoir for the town of Andover, Massachusetts, United States. It is located in the western part of the town and also lends its name to a road. The Merrimack River is connected to the pond to add volume to the reservoir.

Each year, Andover’s water treatment plant pumps and treats 2.2 billion gallons of water from Haggetts Pond which is fed from the Merrimack River via Fish Brook.  During winter months, the town uses roughly 6 million gallons a day, but in the summer, water use doubles to 12 to 14 million as a result of lawn watering and the filling of swimming pools.

A bald eagle does not display its adult plumage until its fourth or fifth year. Until then it often find it difficult to determine the age of the young eagle. Eye color, beak color, presence of an eye stripe and the amount of white on the belly, tail and covert feathers are field marks. Each of the first four years is supposed to be distinctive.

This young and growing Bald Eagle has a buffy crown, light gray bill, brown and white mottling, white wing pits, tan eye color….all these field marks suggest a Basic II subadult!

 

Bald Eagle nest, Essex County #1

March 13, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I3858-002For Bald Eagles, eggs must be kept warm, shaded from harsh sunlight, and protected from predators. In addition to incubating, the eagles also need to turn the eggs about once an hour to ensure that the eggs are evenly heated and that the embryos don’t stick to the insides of the shells. When turning the eggs, the eagles often balled up their talons to prevent their sharp claws from puncturing the eggs. The eggs are rolled over by either parent about every hour to 2 hours during the incubation period. The purpose of this roll is to make sure that the lighter yolk does not rise to the egg surface and the delicate blood vessels that cover the yolk touch and stick to the shell surface, killing the developing chick.The brood patch is an area of bare skin on the bird’s breast that is formed when the bird removes its own feathers. By removing the feathers the parent bird allows his/her body heat to better reach the eggs and keep them at the proper temperature.

The female was observed late afternoon rising above the level of the nest while she was doing her egg turning thing, providing nice looks!