Friday, May 05, 2006
We've gotten some questions on first flights. Here's a description, again from Bent:
"At last the day comes for the eaglets to leave the nest. Sometimes they do so voluntarily; but in some cases it seems necessary to use persuasion. In Dr. Herrick's (1924c) "first season with the Eagles the young seemed disinclined to leave their eyrie and were finally starved out and lured away." After two days of scanty feeding and two days of fasting, "as the old Eagle with the fish was circling just above the nest the Eaglet was jumping with legs rigid and flapping frantically; suddenly it leaped into the air, and for a second seemed to hang, as if poised over the eyrie; at that moment the circling Eagle began to scream, and swooping down at the hovering and now screaming youngster passed him within six feet; a minute later the Eaglet, still holding to the air, drifted fifteen feet or more beyond the margin of the nest; with vigorous wing-beats it began to move eastward, following the mother bird with the fish and made a full mile in its first independent flight; it finally landed in the branches of a tree on the edge of a strip of woods and doubtless was there allowed to feed on the tantalizing fish."
For some time after they leave the nest, probably all through their first summer, the young eagles associate with their parents in the home territory and frequently return to the nest or their favorite perches. But they are eventually driven out to earn their own living and seek new territory. They are never allowed to establish a breeding station near their parental home."
Update: Watch when the eaglets spread their wings. There's still a lot of down there, thus we need to see a bunch more feathers growing in before these critters are ready to soar.
at May 05, 2006