Saturday, May 19, 2012

Protecting the eaglet

Padme the wonderdog was grateful that we didn't take the eagle route on our walk yesterday. On Thursday, we walked by the nest and saw no activity. I was a little concerned that the baby was ok. There were no sounds or movements in the nest on Thursday. No white head popping up above the nest. The baby's too young to leave by itself. Usually there's always a parent close by or in the nest.

The new youngster is already losing his gray down. His face is to the right of mama.

It looks like there's only one youngster again this year. I wonder if eagles tend to have the same number of young each time. The Decorah, Iowa, eagles had three youngsters this year and last. I've read that there seems to be a relationship between food availability and nesting. Eagles don't always nest every year either.

So when I steered Padme toward the street where the eagle's nest is, she first resisted, then relented. We were at the nest for quite awhile tonight. Two young girls wanted to pet Padme. I pointed out the nest to them, and showed them some of the photos I took tonight and last year about this time.

After they left, things started to get interesting. The baby was testing out his wings and mama was very vigilant. Then she started a call I haven't heard her use before, like she sensed an intruder. It wasn't a scream but certainly a protest. She must've seen another eagle that wasn't her mate. Even if the eagle was kin, her youngster could be threatened.

An eagle came into view but was backlit, so I couldn't tell if it was an adult or a juvenile. After he rounded a tree next to the nest tree I could see it was a juvenile, probably about two years old. Mama followed him as he circled wide around the nest, then flew off. She never let up her calls though. I watched her for a few more minutes, then started slowly down the street. I could still hear her a block away but didn't see any eagles in the sky.

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