I stand at this spot where the small lazy river splits around an island below a high sand bank. The Bald Eagle nest is not easy to see without binoculars now that surrounding vegetation obscures the view but it sits atop the tallest pine tree on the embankment.
July 14, 2014 - I estimate the eaglet is about 10 or 11 weeks old on this date. After watching the nest for half an hour around 8 AM, I see no activity at all. I move to another spot on the river and find the young bird sitting on a branch far below the nest. Note the excellent camouflage!
An adult bird lands near the nest and watches but the young bird does not move. I wonder how it got down the tree and if it will be able to fly back to the nest. I know some young eagles do not survive their first flight. Three rain showers pass over on this dull day and I finally leave because of mosquitoes and lack of an umbrella.
I return in the afternoon and find the eaglet on the same branch. It is nearly impossible to see without binoculars as it blends well with the trunk of the tree. Will it get back to the nest?
July 18, 2014- Another brief visit reveals the young bird did make it back to the nest. I watch it fly back and forth to nearby branches.
An adult bird drops in but the eaglet is not interested in flying far from the nest. It is amazing to see how quickly the young bird grew to adult size.
This weekend - I arrive to see the young bird flying above the tree tops close to home. It is about 12 weeks old now.
It circles back to the nest and has a rest.
An adult bird drops off a good sized rodent and leaves as quickly as it arrived. The young bird works away at its meal.
It is a full time job feeding this youngster. Bald Eagles may have two or three young and those nests must be very crowded and busy. The adult returns and perches as the young bird finishes eating.
They both sit outside the nest but in the next hour the young bird does not try another flight. It does its wing exercises several times though. It needs to work hard on strength, coordination and endurance. (That is a line I also use with my patients)
Now that the eaglet has fledged, it must learn to hunt for itself. The adults will continue to feed it for a while but it will be on its own before winter arrives.
It has been interesting and inspiring to watch this young Bald Eagle grow under the watchful care of its parents. Most birds nest secretively but there is nothing secret about this large eyrie where eagles perch confidently overlooking their territory. Many times this scripture from Isaiah came to my mind.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.