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Monday, August 13, 2012

Life After Eddie - Mystery

Since the first eaglet photos taken on June 2, in the nest that Eddie built, the most common question has been, "When will they fly?" The anticipation has been building. On August 2nd the older eaglet apparently fledged (e.g. learned to fly and left the nest). 

For the last week and a half the goal has been to photograph Beatrice, the fledgling, in flight.  From the skies above Union Bay to the 520 light poles, to the Beaver Lodge Sanctuary (BLS), to the cottonwood trees on Foster Island, to Webster Point and of course the nest itself have all been closely watched

On Thursday, the 9th, while we were looking for Beatrice an eagle-eyed young man spotted this bird at the BLS. Can you guess what type of bird this is?

My good friend Marcus Roening identified it as a juvenile, Spotted Sandpiper. (This was a first for me on Union Bay.)

The parents have been seen fairly regularly on the 520 light poles or in the cottonwood tree east of BLS. This photo was taken Friday the 10th above 520.
Twice this week one of the parents has been seen returning to the nesting tree at dusk to visit Eleanor. Here is a short clip.


Eleanor in the last week has branched out and moved about the nesting tree. Her latest move (Sunday night) was nearly to the top of the tree. This is the same process Beatrice went through just before she left the nest.

While checking for Beatrice on Foster Island on Saturday a Pileated Woodpecker was seen working away a few feet off the trail, seemingly unaware of people passing by, but Beatrice was no where to be seen.

Thinking that maybe Beatrice had left Union Bay to find a more plentiful supply of food a visit was made to the Ballard Locks. There were plenty of salmon and even an osprey nest but no eagles.
The young osprey was shortly visited by its father, who came bearing fish. 

On Sunday morning near the southwest bridge to Foster Island this Coopers Hawk was seen, but once again there was no sign of Beatrice.

The hawk was carefully eyeing a number of crows that were quite upset and vocal about the hawk being in the area. What is especially interesting in this photo is how the hawk's pupils are dilated differently depending on the amount of sunlight hitting each eye.

Today around noon there was still no sign of Beatrice but one of the parents was hiding in the shadows near the top of the cottonwood tree on the north side of Foster Island. The eagle was obviously avoiding the heat of the sun. A few minutes later this Stellars Jay, who seemed to be a little more cold blooded, was clearly enjoying the heat of the sun.

With each day that passes the mystery of Beatrice's whereabouts deepens. She should be relying on her parents for food while she learns to hunt. If you see any sign of Beatrice please leave a comment at the end of this blog. Thank you!

Where has the elusive Beatrice gone?


PS: Maybe the lesson to be learned is that we should watch Eleanor very carefully during the next week as she takes to the air and leaves the nest. :-)


  1. I just checked with the Woodland Park Zoo and the US Fish and Wildlife and there have been no reports of an eagle hurt in the Seattle area in the last ten days. I am relieved and inspired to keep watching. :-)

  2. At 4:25 p.m. today I saw Eleanor the eaglet moving tentativley to the very end of a branch in the nesting tree. Talking to myself I said "come on girl, go" and she soon flew off. Very exciting...don't know if she's done this before or not. Shortly before her flight I'd seen one of the adults fly off from the nesting tree.

    1. Wow! That is the first reported sighting of her flying. Way to go! Did you see which direction she flew? Did you see where she landed or if she came back? Thank you for letting us know.

  3. She started northward from the tree but I lost sight of her shortly afterward due to the large trees on the golf course. I could hear eagle sounds off and on from direction of Foster Island. I saw her back in the nesting tree later on in the evening.
    I will be away for a couple of days so will not be able to add any new comments. I have been enjoying observing our various eagle neighbors for many years.

    1. Thank you! I have enjoyed your comments and observations. Yesterday morning (8/15/12) I was out at the nest and saw Eleanor in the nest and in the tree. She appeared to be eating, then cleaning her beak and doing general grooming in the sun. I have not seen her fly yet but she did the fly/hop up to the branch about 4 feet above the nest. This morning (8/16/12) I got a quick look at the nest from Foster Island. The nest and the tree appeared empty. I could see the outline of one large eagle on the 520 light pole, most directly north of the nest. This is where I usually see Eva so I assume it was her. I am hoping Eleanor hangs around Union Bay for a bit and is easier to find the Beatrice.

  4. I'll stay tuned for updates on Beatrice. Thanks for keeping watch ...