Posts Tagged ‘incubate’

Backyard Eagle Encounter

I was sitting at the computer by the picture window that looks out over our backyard. An eagle circled and went back over the strip pit. Another adult bald eagle did the same. I called my mother to “nanner nanner.” One eagle returned. I got off the phone, grabbed my camera and hurried outside.

The other eagle returned too. They circled here and there, heading north and returning, back and forth over the old strip pit behind the house and returning. A strong south wind blew, blowing cumulus clouds to the north, speeding the eagles’ flight and complicating picture-taking.

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They’d disappear and return. I’d occasionally hear one of their  eek” calls. I lost concept of time. Nothing but waiting for them,  and watching them, trying to get pictures. Then a 3rd adult eagle joined them. They didn’t sound to pleased about that. Heard occasional “eeeek” calls.

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I did pause occasionally to breathe. They were closer than they look in the pictures. If I zoomed in too much I couldn’t find them before they were too far off. The back and forth behind the strip pit, and flights to the north and back continued.

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Obviously, the first 2 were a mated pair and the third an intruder. This got me wondering when they mate in southern Illinois and lay their eggs. Big birds obviously take longer to reach maturity.

Great horned owls begin nesting here in southern Illinois at the end of January. Bald eagles incubate their eggs 35 days, and the eaglets fly at 70-75 days. That’s roughly over 3 months.  I couldn’t find the information I wanted online. I’ll file these questions in my brain somewhere and maybe will learn the answers sometime.

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Eagle Diary

Nesting eagles

3-28-12 Buffy and I took a drive this morning to check the eagle nest. The male perched on a limb, and the female stood on the edge of the nest. My first thought was that the eggs had hatched. It was 74 degrees at 9:30, so I figured it was warm enough for either eggs or eaglets. I drove past, taking pictures, turned around and drove back by, taking more pictures. The one on the limb had flown. I began wondering if the male had gone for food, or maybe took over nesting activities and let the female get some exercise. (I take pictures through an open window. I figure that stresses them less than my getting out of the truck.)

When I got home I started going back through picture records of my trips to the nest: January 26 — both were on the nest; February 15 — one was sitting down in the nest, and I wondered if she was incubating; March 9 — female incubating. Male perched in a tree across the road, guarding the nest; March 28, today — female perched on the side of the nest and male close by on a limb.

Bald eagles incubate eggs for 34-36 days. That means 42 days from February 15. So I assume the eggs have either hatched or are hatching. I’m not sure how many days she waits between laying each egg. They lay 1-3 eggs, usually 2.

It’s a shame there isn’t some way to see down in the nest. Not knowing does add to the mystery and intrigue, though. I do tend to be overly curious by nature … which keeps me learning.