By last weekend the waxy white pins on their wings were beginning to sprout dark feathers. The incomplete primary feathers looked a bit like miniature brooms attached to their wings.
The feathers need nutrients to continue to grow...
...which is supplied via the connecting "pins". Once the primary feathers are complete their blood supply will dry up. Then their connecting shafts will be covered by smaller feathers called coverts, which help create the smooth, unbroken surface of the wing.
In order to feed their growth, the eaglets need a steady supply of food. Eaglets can gain more than a quarter of a pound a day.
Hunger can make the eaglets rather vocal about their needs.
When Albert returns with food, the eaglets are not the only ones who get vocal.
The following video shows Eva feeding the eaglets. Initially she puts the food right in front of them. Next, she progresses to pulling a piece free and holding it until they take it. Finally, the eaglets proceed to level three, e.g. whoever hesitates is hungry.
Click Here to see the action.
This Stellar's jay seems rather nonchalant. Eva, on the other hand, is apprehensive and alert.
Crows are another source of irritation. Albert often sits 10 to 15 feet above the nest, which puts him in the optimal defensive position and makes him the crow's safest target. As the crows swoop back and forth, Albert twitches and turns. The crows are smart enough to stay just out of his reach.
Closer to the nest Eva watches the situation.
Her frustration mounts. Finally, Eva takes to the air. She circles back to the nest and lets the crows know who is in charge.
Click Here to watch Albert being harassed and Eva's reaction.
As large as the eaglets are getting one would think they could make short work of any crow that came their way. However, I have seen a Stellar's jay harass and chase a young owl up a tree. Even though the fledgling owl was many times larger than the jay, it still had very limited flight skills, and became very nervous. The greatest danger to the eaglets could be that harassment might upset them and cause them to fall from the nest.
It is a good thing that Eva and Albert are on active duty.
Last week's post was about the need for a nesting platform for the UW osprey, who have been attempting to build a nest above the new UW baseball field.
Yesterday this update came in:
"Jim Kaiser, from Osprey Solutions LLC, has found an agreeable location to erect an Osprey nesting platform in the UBNA near (the) Carp Pond just east of the Husky Ballpark stadium lights. The project is scheduled for Thursday. Seattle City Light provided a sturdy, untreated 35-ft cedar pole for the project."
A special, THANK YOU!, to Jim Kaiser, Dean Pearson, groundsman for the UW, and Fred Hoyt, director at the UW Botanical Gardens, for their combined energy, attention and leadership. They have turned a challenging situation into a wonderful opportunity for the osprey, and all of us.
Have a great day of Union Bay…where nature thrives in the city!
For a quick demonstration of growth, compare this photo from last weekend with…
… this one from last night. The eaglet feathers are filling out very nicely!