Eagles: from hatch to fledge

I think we all would agree that there is nothing more stunning than an eagle in flight.  Their wing span alone can be a give away as to their identity. But also that beautiful white head of the adult eagles.
For the past two months, I’ve been watching a pair of bald eagles as they raise their clutch of three eaglets. I began watching shortly before the third hatched and have been hooked ever since.
Eagles mate for life. The male eagle builds a nest that takes him up to three months to complete. If he doesn’t have a mate, he will try and attract one by impressing her with his nest. If she likes what she sees, the pair will begin a life long journey together of raising young eagles. The nest I’ve been watching online is in Decorah Iowa. It weighs over 1000 pounds and is 6 foot across. The tree was chosen right next to a fish hatchery. Very handy when feeding growing young eaglets.The dynamics and love displayed by the adult eagles is not only interesting, it is a good lesson for all human families.

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This photo was taken when then eaglets were just two weeks old.  It’s a glimpse into the lives of young eaglets we rarely get to see. But here they are patiently waiting for their breakfast. I wondered as I watched them grow how a mom and dad with talons that can grip hundreds of pounds of pressure, and beaks that can do about the same could show love, and affection toward their young. But love and dedication shown these eaglets is obvious every day. Moment by moment mom and dad attend to the feeding of themselves, after they’ve fed the eaglets. An adult eagle will eat up to a pound of fish (food of choice) a day. So it’s hard to imagine how they pull it off. When they were this age, the mama eagle spent most of her time sitting on them. One: to keep them warm and two: so that predators couldn’t haul them away.  Continue reading

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