A Reason to Crow…er…Eagle!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye!

We have an egg!!!

Well at least we might have an egg.

Yesterday Jim and Cindy were spending a lot of time hanging out at the aerie. Jim was busily working on the ongoing construction project while Cindy was uncharacteristically just watching. She wasn’t even micromanaging every single stick-wiggling move that Jim made. Very strange indeed. He would bring in a stick, place it where he wanted it to be and fly off to get another stick. When he returned the first stick was just laying there undisturbed! And Cindy was right there in the nest! Unbelievable!

He continued this pattern as if enjoying his new-found authority and power until Cindy would fly off the nest. When she left, Jim dropped everything and followed after her like a little puppy. He apparently had something other than nest-construction on his mind.

We are unable to see the floor of the nest but we know that the first egg of last year was laid on February 15th. They have been seen mating frequently over the past several days and the eggs are laid 5 to 10 days after successfully mating. This morning Cindy appears to be exhibiting incubation behavior. Although this newly built nest features higher walls and a deeper floor than their previous nests and she is almost hidden from view when she sits in the center of it, we were able to witness some tell-tale signs. She is sitting quietly in the nest with her wingtips pointing upward at that 45 degree angle that is common during incubation as the egg would be nestled in the warm feathers of her lower chest. When she does stand, it is for less than a minute and she appears to be repositioning something with her beak. Then she sits back down into the same position by waddling on her knuckles as she slowly and carefully settles in over the egg. Eagles cup their talons up towards the soles of their feet when they are near the egg to protect it from being accidentally pierced. This early in the process, Cindy does most of the incubating and I have not seen Jim bring her any food yet nor have I seen him take a turn incubating while she feeds, but the day is young.

If their first egg of the 2013 nesting season was laid last night it should hatch around 35 days from now, which would be about the 20th of March, and the eaglet should fledge sometime between May 29th and June 20th. Additional eggs may be laid over the next several days, a day or two apart. Since Jim and Cindy have proved themselves to be quite efficient in this endeavor, fledging two eaglets in 2011 and three more in 2012, I am expecting more eggs soon.

I have not seen any of the 2012 juveniles lately and that may mean that Jim has shooed them away with the beginning of the new nesting season.

Our partners at the Boonshoft Museum should reactivate the eagle-cam stream today. These two, pole-mounted video cameras will enable us all to watch the eagles come and go at the nest. Camera 1 is focused on the south side of the aerie and Camera 2 is aimed at the west side which seems to serve as their front door. The nest may appear empty at times but you can be sure that there will always be an incubating adult inside, just below the rim of the nest, and another adult standing guard nearby when it is not hunting. This guarding adult will aggressively defend the area from any possible threat especially other eagles, Great Horned Owls and other birds of prey.

Let the 2013 nesting season begin and may the summer skies of Dayton, Ohio be blessed with the matchless beauty of young Bald Eagles on wing!

Published in: on February 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh I can feel the excitement in your post!! I am learning so much about the bald eagle and look forward to the beautiful pictures.Thanks eaglejim for the dedication of your group.(EEW) Polly.

  2. It is an exciting time. For the next two months even the well field workers will avoid the area near the nest.as keeping the eggs and hatchlings warm is crucial. In a little over a month we will be counting fuzzy heads again!

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