Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Nesting begins

Mama eagle is barely visible from my favorite viewing spot. This year's nest is in yet another spot. In a tree they nested in two years ago but on the lee side. Hopefully, it will be enough protection from the winds we often experience on our bluff 200 feet or so above Puget Sound.

I'm now checking on the nest a few times a week. Part of my observation is how mama interacts with other birds and her mate. There so much we don't know about the lives of animals. Bald eagles are territorial and usually would not let any raptor near their nests. I've observed this pair frequently spending time with other adult and juvenile eagles, less than a half mile from the nest. One year I photographed a 3-year-old bald eagle that stayed in a tree next to the nest tree for at least 20 minutes. Observing parenting behavior? Acting as a guardian? Checking out possible vulnerabilities?

While I was there yesterday, papa eagle flew by with one of their children from either last year or the year before. I've seen similar behavior in past years - sometimes they chase off the kids, other times they greet them. Could this be the next phase of training the kids in the ways of the eagle?

Papa and youngster greeted mama with their characteristic chortling call they use with kin. Papa and youngster made wide circles over the nest, twisting their heads in all directions to make sure she was doing okay. Mama called back but wasn't moving much, which means she's probably working her hatching magic.

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