|THE AMERICAN BALD EAGLE: |
THE BRAVE AND THE BALD
|An adult Bald Eagle patrols its territory along the shorelines of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Dungeness NWR, WA; 8/4/2012.|
|Two "baby" Bald Eagles, not yet left the nest, Dungeness NWR, WA; 8/4/2012.|
"Eaglet Growth - The young birds grow rapidly, they add one pound to their body weight every four or five days. At about two weeks, it is possible for them to hold their head up for feeding.
By three weeks they are 1 foot high and their feet and beaks are very nearly adult size.
Between four and five weeks, the birds are able to stand, at which time they can began tearing up their own food. At six weeks, the eaglets are very nearly as large as their parents.
At eight weeks, the appetites of the young birds are at their greatest. While parents hunt almost continuous to feed them, back at the nest the eaglets are beginning to stretch their wings in response to gusts of wind and may even be lifted off their feet for short periods.
At three or four weeks, the eaglet is covered in its secondary coat of gray down. In another two weeks or so, black juvenile feathers will begin to grow in. While downy feathers are excellent insulators, they are useless as air foils, and must be replaced with juvenile feathers before an eaglet can take its first flight, some 10 to 13 weeks after hatching."
Bald eagles build their nests in large trees near rivers or coasts. A typical nest is around 5 feet in diameter. Eagles often use the same nest year after year. Over the years, some nests become enormous, as much as 9 feet in diameter, weighing two tons. Even when a nest tree falls or a strong wind blows a nest down, the established pair usually rebuilds at or near the site within a few weeks if it is near the breeding season. The nest may be built in a tree, on a cliff, or even on the ground if there are no other options available.
|A juvenile Bald Eagle, Dungeness NWR, WA; 8/4/2012.|
|An adult Bald Eagle perched close to the nest, Dungeness NWR, WA; 8/4/2012.|