Sunday, June 3, 2012

Eagle teamwork

Could only see one baby, hoping the other one's ok.
Unlike some other species of birds – notably hummingbirds – bald eagle mates work as a team to rear their young. Including incubating the eggs, although the mothers do that most of the time. The eaglets have a tough enough time once they get their "training-wheel" wings. About 40 percent don't survive their first flight.

Papa leaves his sentry post as mama finishes helping babies eat.
If a mate dies before baby eagles fledge, the babies will likely starve. Before babies grow out of their fluffy gray down, usually mama stays in the nest, occasionally relieved by papa who does most of the hunting. More and more, babies are left alone in the nest but a parent is always watching nearby, ready to intervene if there are any problems. When babies are old enough to "branch" – literally jumping from branch to branch around the nest, testing wings and talons – the parents might fly off a little farther, sometimes together.

Mama leaves the nest, follows papa, then circles back to the lookout tree he just left.
The baby we saw tonight is still shedding its gray down. We didn't see her sibling. Maybe he was sacked out at the other side of their massive aerie. It's really a giant playpen with guardrails that are tough to see over and, hopefully, protects babies from falling out. I'm gradually adding new bald eagle and snowy owl images to my Talons Gallery. Let me know if you have favorites you'd like me to add.

Curious about the funny looking flightless birds on the street below.

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