Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mama eagle keeps watch

Female eagles are sometimes called hen-eagles. Chaucer called them formel.
It wasn't until I edited these photos that I recognized this was mama eagle keeping watch. Bald eagles pair for life and both parents share duties of nesting and feeding of young. Although mama spends most of her time in the nest while eggs are incubating, papa steps in to give her a break. Female eagles are larger than males and have slightly thicker bills. Since I have been photographing this pair for the past couple of months, I knew that the eagle on lookout was mama. I am adding a closeup of papa eagle from early May. More favorite images can be found in my Talons Gallery.

Male eagles are called tercel eagles in falconry.
The nest was quiet last night. If papa was there, he was hunkered down. Male eagles add evergreen branches to the nest before the young hatch. It's getting tougher to see what's going on in the nest because of all the added greenery. If you want to learn more about bald eagles, there are several good sites. The most comprehensive is, created and managed by Hope Rutledge. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has an excellent Raptor Ecology site and, of course, Bald Eagle Management & Protection.

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote about the devotion of eagles in the 14th Century:
The royal tercel, with bowed head and humble appearance, delayed not and spoke: "As my sovereign lady, not as my spouse, I choose - and choose with will and heart and mind - the formel of so noble shape upon your hand. I am hers wholly and will serve her always."

Later in our walk, we encountered a black-tailed deer who stood very still and stared at me while I photographed her. Luckily Padme didn't see her. She was maybe 30 feet away from me.

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