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Old May 5, 2014, 11:08 AM   #1
LizKat
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Countdown to first flight for Berry College (Georgia) bald eagle chick

Have you been watching the progress of the Berry College (Georgia) bald eagle chick?

The cam is great (infrared for 24/7 viewing) http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/ and there's a link on that page to an approach view camera, so you can see how big the nest is. It's up about a hundred feet off the ground so let's hope first flight is a safe one.

She's been up in a branch above the nest quite a few times, and lately looking like she's scoping out her flight path. She's so rambunctious (when not napping) that it'll be amazing if her first flight isn't backwards off the nest proper.

This eaglet hatched on Feb 22, so she could fledge out any time now. She's been showing off her skills lately, helping tear up the food that her parents bring into the nest, or rearranging sticks at the edge of the nest and fluffing up the grass in it the way the parents do when they've decided to do a little housekeeping.

She's already bigger than her dad. Male bald eagles are smaller than the females, and that's the only reason I figure this eaglet is a female. There was another egg this season, but it didn't prove viable.

Some snapshots - from March 12, April 21 and May 4.
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Old May 5, 2014, 11:35 AM   #2
Hughmac
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Fascinating; thanks for sharing

Cheers

Hugh
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Old May 5, 2014, 03:45 PM   #3
ucfgrad93
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That is really awesome, thanks for sharing LizKat.
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Old May 6, 2014, 01:06 PM   #4
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Update and more photos of the eaglet: Last evening after some facetime with her papa, he left and apparently went out off into the branches of the nest tree. She got really fixated looking over that part of the nest edge, so probably the parents were out there encouraging her to join them. No deal! But late into the darkness she was still out there leaning and looking. Made me nervous!

But, today was another day. After some preening and sunbathing (and maybe sulking, since I think cutoff of room service is part of the impetus for first flight), she got out there on the edge again like she was doing a serious preflight check.

I figured, okay, time to switch to the approach cam, this is gonna be it! Look how huge her wingspan is when she's in flight! No wonder her parents like to move her out... their grocery budget has got to be out of control.

When she got up there she teetered, folded her wings in, practiced turning around on the branch a few times and then flapped back into the safety of the nest. Whew! She'll do this a few more times probably before she takes a longer flight. Parents need to show her how to hone her instinctive hunting skills, so she'll be looked after for a few months yet. Well I hope her first longer flight well go so well, she seems up for it.
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Old May 8, 2014, 12:41 PM   #5
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This afternoon the camera showed an empty nest. Seems like it took the plunge and made first flight. Great stuff. Thanks for the link LizKat.
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Old May 8, 2014, 06:13 PM   #6
ucfgrad93
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Originally Posted by kryten2 View Post
This afternoon the camera showed an empty nest. Seems like it took the plunge and made first flight. Great stuff. Thanks for the link LizKat.
Maybe not. Check the approach cam to see if she isn't out on another branch that isn't viewable from the nest cam.
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Old May 8, 2014, 06:38 PM   #7
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Ok, this is pretty cool! Thanks for sharing the link!!!!!

Come on little gal! Flap those wings and fly!
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Old May 8, 2014, 07:21 PM   #8
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So far she's still "branching" -- flapping her way up to branches within the nest tree-- but she'll get up the nerve to fly pretty soon.

Just now she was resting in the nest proper. The parents are probably flying by with food now and then, calling to her, getting upwind of the nest so she will catch the scent and be tempted out. Eventually she'll get hungry enough to give it a shot. It has' been great fun to watch how much care the parents lavish on their little chick to get her to this turning point in her life.

The college has updated the nest cam page narrative to explain a little more about how she will fledge out, and what happens after that, and to note that they'll be taking the cam offline this summer for maintenance. Hope we can get a few more glimpses of this eaglet in and around the nest before she realizes she's a goddess of the sky and takes off to explore it!
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Old May 21, 2014, 03:51 PM   #9
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Berry College website has fresh comments on status on the 2014 eaglet. Excerpt:

Quote:
B3 has still not fledged! She continues to branch all over the nest tree with vigorous flapping (wingercizing) of her wings. Many of you have also noticed that she exhibits protective and reactive behavior now when the parents drop off food. This is called “mantling,” and you will see it as she hunkers down over her food, wings outspread, often vocalizing to warn off possible interlopers. She is not mistreating her parents. She is merely exhibiting appropriate behavior which she will need as she makes her way alone in the wild in the years to come.
http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/approach/

http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/

Here are a few more screenshots I have grabbed as time has gone on. Rearranging sticks in the nest (developing future Mama skills). Being kinda pouty one morning about not having breakfast served in timely fashion. A parent eagle guarding her overnight by roosting near her in the nest tree.
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Old May 21, 2014, 04:07 PM   #10
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I've been checking the cams every day at various times and she is always there. Come on bird, FLY!!!!
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Old May 21, 2014, 04:18 PM   #11
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Yeah I'm thinking she's a little spoiled from being the only hatchling this year. Maybe as a result, the parents are less exhausted, so are still in "encourage" mode instead of "get a LIFE" mode. And sometimes when there are multiple hatchlings, the less aggressive ones (last in line to eat) will fledge out first because something in them says better eats are a possibility elsewhere. Either that or they get shoved out by the strongest one!

If one reads up on eaglet development, it's been documented that with multiple hatchlings, females will sometimes attack or even kill their smaller male siblings. Considering how dedicated the parent eagles are, I was surprised to learn that in such cases the parents do NOT interfere with fratricidal behavior. I was trying to think how that works for the species. I dunno.
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Old May 22, 2014, 11:01 AM   #12
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And... we have liftoff! Yep, not so little girl B3 has fledged out, exactly 3 months after hatching! Way to go B3 !!

I am so happy. They say 40% of them don't survive first actual flight from nest. No wonder it took awhile to decide to go for it!



Update: and we have video of Mama eagle (edit: nope, that was the Papa!) bringing a fish to the empty nest and waiting until B3 returns safely from her first flight to scarf up a nice breakfast!


Last edited by LizKat; May 22, 2014 at 03:35 PM. Reason: correction - 2nd video, that's papa with her not the mama
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Old May 28, 2014, 08:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LizKat View Post
And... we have liftoff! Yep, not so little girl B3 has fledged out, exactly 3 months after hatching! Way to go B3 !!

I am so happy. They say 40% of them don't survive first actual flight from nest. No wonder it took awhile to decide to go for it!

YouTube: video

Update: and we have video of Mama eagle (edit: nope, that was the Papa!) bringing a fish to the empty nest and waiting until B3 returns safely from her first flight to scarf up a nice breakfast!

YouTube: video
Thanks for sharing these videos.
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