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

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Too Close For Comfort

These young eagles have been constant companions since the second egg hatched, just over two months ago. Rain or shine, hungry or full, tired or rested they are always near each other. It must feel like the nest is shrinking, as they grow. To see how they have changed from two months ago, Click Here.

When one bird lands too close to the other you can hear their calls and almost read their thoughts, "Hey, watch it with those wings Buddy, I'm right here! Didn't you see me?"

During this growth phase, their greatest danger may actually have been from one another. Even if not intentional, an accidental wing stroke could easily send one of them over the side of the nest. Their constant awareness of each other may well be rooted in self-preservation. 

The second sibling seems to reply, "I barely brushed you. What's your problem?"

Then like a flash their anger seems to pass.

Still their youth, hormones and nature are driving them to spread their wings. They are often bouncing from branch to branch. As a matter of fact, this behavior is commonly called "Branching". 

When one bird takes to the air, the other ducks its head and spreads its wings, just in case.

For a moment, it looks like they will ignore each other...

…as the active eagle returns to its starting location. 

Then the whole process begins again. This time the eagle on the left feels the need for closer companionship.

As it approaches, the eagle on the right watches apprehensively.

The first bird on the branch seems to say, "Careful now! This branch may not hold us both."

Just like siblings, the whole world over, they are constantly on each other's mind and in each other's face. 

On Thursday, I watched as one of the young eagles landed on a branch, which broke. The branch was not above the nest. As the fledgling took to the air with the greatest of ease, my fears were relieved. It was the first time I had seen one leave the tree. It simply circled around and returned to opposite side of the nest. 

It was airborne for three or four seconds at most. When it landed, its sibling was all over it. It seemed to say, " Hey! You flew! And then you returned to the nest, just like the parents. They usually bring food. Did you bring me anything? Huh? Huh? Did you?"

As a parent it is easy to see the similarities between the young eagles and our own children when they were young. Lately, I have been reading how scientists are learning that all life on earth has shared genetic code. When you see the common behaviors of our young the shared DNA seems obvious.

At this point the fledglings are not quite ready to leave the tree, voluntarily. Any day now they will take to the air and leave their confinement behind. After which, they will never again have to be too close for comfort.


This week I was saddened to learn that some of our leaders in Washington, D.C. think we should no longer enforce the protections offered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The amendment to remove funding for the MBTA is through the House and on the way to the Senate. Audubon states, "If this amendment had been in effect when the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout occurred, BP would not have been subject to prosecution for the killing of millions of birds."

To learn more, and use Audubon's easy semi-automated process to oppose the change:

Thank you and have a great day of Union Bay…where young eagles grow up together!


PS: Just in case you need a little extra motivation, to oppose the MBTA amendment, here is a sample of stories about just a few of the migratory birds that visit Union Bay each year.


  1. Fascinating piece and photo series on the juvenile eagles and their behavior, which I had never seen documented and explained before. Well done as always.

  2. Dan,
    Thank you! You are very kind.:-)