Monday, May 7, 2012
Update on Eagle Chick
Many have wondered if the eaglet is male or female – a distinction that is very hard to make at this age. As male and female bald eagles differ only in size, it can be quite challenging to identify sex in a three week or younger chick. The only way at this point to know for sure would be to do a DNA test. Or just wait until it grows up. The eaglet’s weight was another common question – a little over 1 kilogram or 2.5 pounds!
What did we leave in the nest with Harmon? We left several pieces of fish in the nest when we returned the eaglet. We know that the most important cue for the adults to return to the nest is the eaglet’s food begging cries – our hope in leaving the fish was that once the adults came in, they would not have to take the time to hunt, but would have “fast food” available with which to feed Harmon.
Did we stay in the area to see what happened? What happens next? While we took care to note the presence of the male and female perched about a ¼ mile away, we attempted to leave the nest area as quickly as possible. One of our major concerns is that eagles will often abandon their nests if disturbed during nesting. Clearly, this whole episode has been a major disturbance, albeit necessary if the eaglet was to survive. We – like you – are waiting patiently to see if the parents will come back this morning. And as we wait, we are in discussions on the next phase of Harmon’s journey should the parents not return to care for him.
Stay tuned for more updates. Photo 1: There was water in the bucket of the boom truck, and so Dr. Ponder set the eagle chick on the ground so it could rest while they worked. Photos 2-3: Jim Mussell takes good care of the chick as the bucket lifts them to the nest. Photo 4: Jim brings the chick to the nest.
Posted by The Raptor Center at 9:29 AM