The Feeding Frenzy Has Begun

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Jim and Cindy have begun the exhausting task of feeding at least two hungry eaglets. (It may not be exhausting, yet but it soon will be.)

The eldest of the hatchlings is now 12 days old and the grayish-white fluffy coat that it wore when newly hatched is now being replaced by a much better insulating wooly, gray fuzz. Dark feathers will push their way through its skin and give the fuzzy coat a prickly appearance. That eaglet’s nestmates are a few days younger but are each undergoing the same metamorphosis.

Eaglets grow rapidly and being the eldest of the brood has some distinct advantages. By virtue of its age, that eaglet is bigger and stronger than its siblings. That extra size and weight will allow it to eat the lion’s portion of the fish that Jim and Cindy bring to the nest. A very aggressive eaglet will sometimes feed so much that its younger and weaker sibling will become undernourished, growing weaker and weaker until it starves or is killed by the more aggressive, larger eaglet. Jim and Cindy counter that behavior by simultaneously feeding the eaglets from different sides of the nest. This technique can be clearly seen on the eagle-cams and is how we know that there are at least two eaglets in this year’s brood. We have also seen what appears to be feeding from both sides and to the middle of the nest which could indicate that there are at least three eaglets again this year. Of course the feeding in middle of the nest could just mean that one eaglet is moving around as it eats but typically they go to where Mom and Dad’s are stationed in the nest. It will not be all that long before they grow large enough that we can get a more accurate headcount.

As the eaglets grow they will need more food. Weighing just 2 1/2 to 3 ounces when newly hatched the eaglets will gain around 10 pounds in a matter of weeks. An older eaglet can eat as much as 2 pounds of flesh in a single meal and gain as much as 6 ounces in body weight in a day. As they grow they will be even hungrier and Jim and Cindy may need to hunt around 8 times each day. The  best time to witness a hunting eagle is at sunrise and just before sunset. Already Jim’s tail feathers are looking a bit soiled. The adults will show more signs of the wear and tear of the constant demands of tending to their young family before the eaglets fledge in June.

Today is April 1st. This is the day that the Osprey usually return to Eastwood Lake. Jim and Cindy might choose to sit and watch an Osprey catch a fish and then “borrow” it from them. I am always amazed at how fast an eagle can fly as it closes in on an Osprey poaching fish from its territory. If you see an Osprey fishing the waters of Eagle Lake, you can be sure that your’s are not the only pair of eyes watching it.

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Published in: on April 1, 2013 at 11:32 am  Comments (8)  

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very nice site wonderful pictures

  2. Thank you Mary Jo. They are such fun to watch and so inspiring. I am glad that you enjoy our site.

  3. I was just looking at the eagle with its wings out stretched on today’s web sight. My wife, Sandy has been looking for a picture of an eagle to make into an oil painting. Would it be possible to have permission to paint this eagle. You would be listed a the photographer who took the picture that inspired the painting. If prints were to be made later, this also be included with each print.

    Thanking you in advance for your help.

    Ernest & Sandy Harris Sent from my iPad

  4. Thank-You for sharing all the wonderful pictures. This is so exciting!

  5. We are glad that you enjoy them Terri. Soon we will be able to photograph the 2013 eaglets!

  6. I will check with Roger and email you.

  7. It is so much fun watching the eagle cam and watching Jim and Cindy take turns in the nest. I do have a question though, at times I see which ever parent is there throw their head back with beak open. Is that a vocal sound their making or some sort of communication? I think there are at least two eaglets and this is from a very novice eagle watcher!! Thanks eaglejim and Roger for your pictures and post!! Write again soon. Polly.

  8. Thanks again for checking in Polly. There are several head movements to watch for. Often they will throw back their heads and call to their mate. Sometimes you will see this behavior shortly before the mate flies into the nest. They also will do this to scream a warning, it is relly more like chattering than screaming, at another bird that is in the area. You have most likely noted that the adult in the nest is constantly scanning the skies for any possible threat and many times the will look straight up at a bird passing overhead even if it is quite high. The other head movement you will note looks like panting. It is. Although we have had no really warm days yet this nesting season, when the temperature climbs sitting in the sun with no roof to shade them will raise their body temperature and they will pant to stay cool.


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