The eagles in our local nest showed a change in behavior on January 11, which was the 35th day after we determined from our ground observations that the first egg had been deposited. Here is a photo of the male departing the nest after exchanging incubation duties with the female.
While taking turns incubating the eggs they sat so deeply in the nest that they were nearly hidden behind the rim. On the morning of January 11 the pair suddenly changed posture, sitting up higher, indicating that they were "tenting" a hatchling while continuing to incubate one or more additional eggs. Usually the non-incubating mate would be away for long periods, either foraging or roosting in trees some distance ftom the nest, but now both took an avid interest in the contents of the nest, looking down to tend and feed the new eaglet.
The hatching was publicized in local media and the next weekend many people came to visit the nest area, hoping to see one or more eaglets. Usually they have not been visible from the ground until they were over two weeks old. We visited the nest most of the following mornings, hoping to see them. On January 20 we surmised there were at least two because the adults were carrying food to two different locations in the nest, but the chicks were just out of view.
That afternoon photographer and eagle watcher Liza Morffiz Chevres obtained the first photo of two eaglets during a feeding. Look closely and see that there is one on each side of the parent's beak. Photo is the property of Liza and is used with her permission.
The male arrived, not carrying prey, and the pair called back and forth.
He briefly roosted on the horizontal perch above the nest and then flew in a circle around the nest.
The male returned to the perch and continued resting there until we departed.
In the meantime, the female began tearing at the large white bird that had been on the nest since the day before.
After eating quite a bit she started feeding the eaglets.
The eaglets were hidden in the rear left portion of the nest, where the rim is also higher, so they remained out of view......until we finally caught sight of one.
The nest is full of feathers from prey, mostly White Ibises and Cattle Egrets. The wind blows the feathers and gives the impression that we are seeing the movement of an eaglet. On January 23 I took almost 300 photos of the eagles feeding their young, but in only one frame did I find this poor image of one of the eaglets:
The next day the oldest eaglet was 13 days old. I visited the nest twice. In mid-morning it was cold and windy (mid 50s F). The female was roosting in a dead melaleuca tree to the west of the nest, her feathers ruffled by the wind.
The male was tending the nest and feeding the eaglets but we could not catch sight of them. Note his slender build and low sloping forehead.
I visited the nest again at 1:30 PM and watched for an hour. For the first 20 minutes the nest appeared empty. The male was roosting on the horizontal limb near the top of the nest tree and the female was not present.
As I watched the apparently empty nest a little fuzzy white head popped up!
Then the female flew into the nest and the eaglet again briefly reappeared.
She fed and covered the eaglets until the male flew in and displaced her at the nest. The male fed the eaglets and then settled down.
These are the 12th and 13th eaglets produced by this pair during the seven breeding seasons we have monitored their nest. For more information and photos of more recent events at the nest visit the Bald Eagles of Broward County FORUM at this link