Monday, May 24, 2010

Eagle Watch

Last month I blogged about the Hornby Island Eagle Cam, a live web cam that’s giving us a bird’s eye view of life in the nest of a pair of bald eagles. In April, we were watching Mom and Dad take turns brooding their two eggs.

Early on April 29th, one of the eggs hatched and just after sunrise (PDT) web cam viewers around the world welcomed baby Phoenix to the world.

Sadly, it seems the second wasn’t fertilized and has not hatched, but watching Mom and Dad raise Phoenix has more than made up for that disappointment. It’s especially incredible to see how amazingly gentle these parents are, in spite of their fierce beaks and deadly talons.

Even more astounding is the growth rate of a baby bald eagle. Phoenix will fledge and leave the nest when s/he is about 80 days old, with a wing span of 80 inches!

Here's Phoenix at three weeks old, with the unhatched egg for scale. I love the little dinosaur face, rubber chicken body and that pair of I’ll-grow-into-them-someday feet. So adorable.

Hornby Eagles also have a Facebook page where you’ll find lots more information and many more photographs. It the link doesn’t work, a Facebook search for Hornby Eagles will take you there.

Happy eagle watching!

Until next time,
Firefighter Daddy (July 2010)


Leigh Duncan said...

Amazing photos, Lee. See how soft and cozy the nest looks? I've heard that, as the fledgelings approach their first flight, the adult eagles toss the soft stuff out of the nest. The sticks and hard edges left behind help "prod" the baby into flight. It'll be interesting to watch and see if that's true.

Lee McKenzie said...

Leigh, I had no idea that Mom and Dad wet to such lengths to get their offspring out of the nest. It will be interesting to watch, for sure!

I'm also struck by how HUGE the nest is. Even when both adults are in there with the baby, it's still roomy.

Lee McKenzie said...

Exiting is one word for it, Estella. Dad flew into the nest this morning with a dead oposssum and fed it to Phoenix!

Megan Kelly said...

Opossum? Wow. That's so cool. Thanks for sharing.

Lee McKenzie said...

Megan, it's like watchiing "Wild Kingdom"! I didn't see the opossum delivery live, but a video was posted on Facebook. Up to now I think the little one has mostly been eating fish. S/He's already big enough to swallow whole herring.

Anita Birt said...

Thanks for the eagle posting. I keep forgetting to check on the little baby. He/she is doing wall. It's the size of the parent and the size of the baby that amazes me. How careful the parent has to be with those big eagle claws not to touch the baby.

I am watching for Firefighter Daddy!

Lee McKenzie said...

Anita, the parental care in those first few days - when the eaglet was so, so tiny - was truly awe inspiring.

Anonymous said...

After you first posted about the site, my 10 year-old son and I became glued to the screen daily to wait for the little one to arrive. We still check in every now and then. Did you see when the LIVE snake was in the nest??? Mom (or Dad) ended up feeding it to baby bit by wiggling bit. Needless to say, my kiddo LOVED watching it. Thanks for sharing the site!

Jennifer Bates

Lee McKenzie said...

Jennifer, I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you and your son have connected with the Hornby eagles. Apparently teachers (who have the technology) are showing the Hornby web cam live in their classromms. A virtual field trip!

I missed the snake dinner - oh my! - but I have seen the eaglet swallow whole, still-wriggling herring.

Such an amazing learning opportunity for all of us!