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

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Eaglet - On the Edge

Earlier this week Doug Schurman, continuing his incredible video work, caught a very scary moment.  

It is possible and maybe even probable that the eaglet could survive a fall from the nest at this point. However just like a human learning to walk or ride a bike confidence is critical. At some point the internal switch will be thrown. It will go from "I think I can" to that crystal clear knowledge, "I Can Fly!"

For all the differences between humans and eagles what's most amazing is the things we have in common.

At a time when he could not see both eaglets in the nest Doug saw an immature eagle fly by. He thought for a moment, Could it be one of the eaglets? What do you think?

Doug realized that the beak was far more yellow than the current eaglets. In addition you can see the white feathers beginning to come in around the head. This is a juvenile eagle that is nearing maturity, which usually occurs in the 4th or 5th year.

Both of the current Broadmoor eaglets still have mostly dark heads and beaks, but they are beginning the branching process.

This is the process of hopping/flying from the nest to nearby branches. 

In particular the elder eaglet, Beatrice, is moving further and further out on the limbs and away from the nest. First to the left.

Then back above the nest.

And then way above the nest.

Even at this distance above the nest every move was a short "hop" from one branch up to the next. Still it is obvious this is the last step in the process of learning to fly. There is nearly no where else left to go.

More to follow.

Larry Hubbell

Odds and Ends:

The eaglets appear to watch a jet pass by with great interest in the idea of flying. See at:



This is what used to be called a Rufous-Sided Towhee. It was spotted in the Arboretum this week.
The western version of the RST is now called the Spotted Towhee to distinguish it from the eastern version of the RST.


  1. Larry, as one who [unabashedly] can't fully separate my emotions from my photographic subjects, I will say that fledgling season is a really tough time! :) The Ospreys around Interbay are starting to fledge and they have quite a few spots to jump to, which I hope they all manage. For the past many years, I've followed the Fledge Watch for the Peregrine Falcons back in my hometown of San Francisco. They nest on a skyscraper ledge (with webcam) and when it comes time to fledge, there's a whole group of concerned watchers who retrieve them if they're accidentally ensnared or grounded. It's a simultaneously heart warming and heartbreaking endeavor to be a part of, given the many hazards of city flying and glass, for young fledges.

    One question: how do the eaglets around Lake Washington handle the Blue Angel and aerial performances? I've wondered about that ...

    1. I have never been watching a fledgling when the Blue Angels flew by. Although last year while kayaking out to watch the Blue Angels (I wouldn't recommend kayaking in all that chop by the way) I did get photos of a green heron. Now that I think about it the heron may have acted a bit scared, Was it me or the Angels? I will have to see if I can find that photo...

  2. Thanks, Larry. Fleet Week and the Blue Angels in the Bay Area came a bit later in the year (September) so by then, all of the birds had fledged. Although I wondered how wildlife like Pelicans reacted to the influx of loud aircraft, there didn't seem to be (from what I discussed at my wildlife hospital, at least) any particular repercussions. I don't know if it's any different with fledgling birds, or if they manage to take it all in stride.