Mission: To promote the appreciation of wildlife and increase harmony between humanity and nature.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Life After Eddie - Wings

It has been nearly one month (e.g. June 2nd) since new life was first seen in the nest that Eddie built. On that first day there was still room in the nest for Eva. In fact the eaglets may have still needed her body to keep them warm.

Lately the only time the parents are seen in the nest is when they are feeding the eaglets. The eaglets have been utilizing every meal and growing at an incredible rate.  One of the ways to see the growth is to look at the change in their wings.

Here is a June 10th photo that shows one of the eaglets stretching it's wings. There appears to be almost no sign of primary or secondary flight feathers.

Five days later it is a bit difficult to see but it appears the feathers at the tips of the wings have grown an inch or more. 

In just an additional 4 days, by June 19th, the wings have clearly grown in length but they will still need more surface area before the eaglets will be able to fly.

By June 24th the percentage of new, dark, functional feathers has increased dramatically.
By June 30th their wings are looking even more impressive.

Notice how the flight feathers (the trailing feathers) continue to make up a larger portion of the wings. So far the eaglets have mostly been observed stretching their wings or using them to maintain their balance. During the next month they should begin exercising the wings to develop the strength required for flight. During this time the eaglets will be more likely to be sitting near the edge of the nest with their wings extended. They will appear almost as large as their parents and should be visible with the naked eye from some distance.

May you have a safe and sparkling fourth.


Odds and Ends:

Earlier this week a chickadee was observed harvesting serviceberries for it's chick. The parent looked frazzled and worn while the chick cried incessantly. Notice how the chickadee appears to use it's weight, gravity and wing strength to remove the berry from the branch. In truth it was actually removing mouthfuls from the fruit and transferring them one at a time to the chick.

As dusk approached in the Arboretum this week three young barred owls flew from branch to branch. Stopping, they craned their necks in a circular fashion to help them focus on anything that moved. 
Given that the owlets are already flying they are most likely four to eight weeks older than the eaglets, but the eaglets are already larger.

The eagles would still love to see salmon spawning in the Arboretum Creek.


  1. What a wonderful, illustrative timeline! I saw an eagle perched at the western end of the 520 span and thought of you immediately.

  2. Thank you! It has been wonderful to share this eagle experience. Yesterday evening my son and I kayaked out to 520 and sat and watched Eva and Albert as they each sat on their own light pole. As we headed back to shore I was wondering do the eagles recognize me? I have read that crows can recognize people and I would expect eagles and smarter than crows. However, I don't know how one would prove that.

  3. Thanks for keeping us updated! I live in Madison Park and I noticed the nest a while ago, and I check on it every other day or so. I just recently stumbled upon your blog, and I'm learning a lot. We saw one of the parents chase down a crow the other day (I still can't quite tell the difference between Eva and Albert). What was the final decision on the baby names?

  4. The baby names are coming soon, I have been trying to get the perfect photos to go with the new names. I may just have to give in an go with what I have. I am curious did the adult eagle take the crow back to the nest?

  5. It did not appear to take the crow back to the nest. Earlier tonight I was watching them again from near the Beaver Lodge Sanctuary. I saw one of the parents perched on a 520 light-post, swoop down and grab a fish, then fly back to the next. My dog and I sprinted back to the area where we could see the nest and watched the babies eat! It was pretty cool. They are so big--and perched on the edge of the nest!