Saturday, May 4, 2013

Eagle clan in the air and nesting

Juvenile bald eagle about 3 years old

Juvenile bald eagle about 2 years old
Our resident eagle clan visits the ridge above the Nisqually delta when the winds are favorable for gliding and play-sparring with fellow members of the clan. I often see anywhere from four to more than a dozen bald eagles of all ages, mostly juveniles. Bald eagles get their characteristic white heads and tails when they're about five years old.

Young eagles play100 feet above the ground.
Until then, there are brothers, sisters, and cousins to practice eagle ways with high above the ridge. Sometimes one will get too close to the nest and papa eagle will chase him or her off. Sometimes after chasing one off, I'll see papa practicing with the younger ones along the ridge. Learning eagle ways takes several seasons.

Mama eagle's head has been visible above the nest. I think the young have hatched but I won't see them until they've nearly lost their down to more permanent feathers. The nest is so well protected that it's impossible to see into the nest unless you fly above it, which biologists from Joint Base Lewis McChord do on occasion. I see papa once in awhile but he doesn't need to be quite as vigilant as before the babies hatched.

I continue to add new work to my Talons Gallery. Let me know if you spot other images you think I should add.

Papa keeping watch from a tree near the nest

Mama sitting with the youngsters

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