Learning To Fly

The Master Instructor.

The Master Instructor.

Pestering annoyance.

Pestering annoyance.

Uneaglelike perch.

Uneaglelike perch.

There is more to flying than taking that first step out of the nest. In fact, simply referring to that first step as a “first step” implies that there are more steps to follow. One of our two 2013 eaglets is still waiting to complete that step while the other is much further along in the process.

Whether it is a toddler learning to walk, a child learning to ride a bicycle, or a teen learning to drive a car, concentration is mandatory. Distractions may prove disastrous! When you are a young Bald Eagle mastering the art of flight, distractions come looking for you. Both Red Winged Blackbirds and Eastern Kingbirds love to aggressively defend their serfdoms lying within our eagles’ kingdom by swooping at the backs of the flying eagles and at times landing between the eagle’s shoulder blades and surfing across the sky. The adult eagles handle this harassment with hardly a glance in the direction of the annoyance but the juvenile on wing can become startled and somewhat frightened by these midair encounters.

Another big challenge that is fraught with danger is learning to land. Some perches that seem perfectly reasonable and trustworthy are anything but. I have shared in earlier posts about watching one of Jim and Cindy’s 2012 eaglets end its maiden flight by attempting to land atop a neighboring sycamore tree’s leafy twigs. The green mass of foliage slowly consumed the heavier-than-songbird eaglet with an abundance of commotion and very little gracefulness. After a few seconds the bewildered, disheveled and better educated juvenile was deposited on a sturdier limb a few feet lower in the tree. Our new flyer this year is still occasionally landing on smaller branches but will soon learn to look for limbs much more befitting its weight and stature.

Getting back to our non-flyer…Although it is still in the aerie this morning, I am not concerned. It is most likely the youngest of the pair, being quite possibly two or three days younger than its flying sibling. This means that it is around 85 days old. The typical Bald Eagle eaglet fledges between 70 and 92 days after hatching so it is still well within the middle of that window. It appears to be healthy and can get itself airborne with ease so I expect that it will fly soon. Meanwhile it may learn a bit by simply sitting and watching its sibling learning to fly.

Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm  Comments (4)  

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I went to Eastwood Lake yesterday in hopes of seeing an eagle, but it never happened. That’s okay because I enjoy all the photos you post and your comments. Our eagle Jim is a proud papa today with his eaglets and hopefully the remaining one watching the master as you put it so well.. Thanks Jim for the post and pictures!! Polly.

  2. Just fascinated with this blog and yout skill at writing. Thanks

  3. Thank you for making the trip south Polly. Sorry that our paths didn’t cross and that Jim and Cindy were not accommodating.

  4. Thank you for your too-kind comments rhboian. It is my constant hope that a bit of my admiration for the beauty of these majestic creatures may somehow flow gracefully through my fingertips and onto the keyboard as I type. If photographs fail to rightly capture their grandeur, there is little hope for the written word.

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