Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bald Eagle's mate update

As reported in an earlier post, we have been monitoring a Bald Eagle nest for the past 8 breeding seasons. The same pair, named "Pride" and "Joy" hatched out at least 13 chicks over that period of time, all but two of which fledged successfully. Now many of their young are old enough to have families of their own. 

Sadly, "Joy" disappeared in late October, 2014 and Pride continued refurbishing the nest, sitting in it and also apparently making forays in search of a new mate. After some confusing appearances of at least three young eagles, Pride may have settled on the first female he introduced to us, whom we are calling "Newfie" (for new female). After we know they have settled down the nest watchers plan to use a poll to select a permanent name for her. 

One of the favored fishing grounds for the eagles is the large lake in Sunset Lakes, our development, here seen at sunrise:

Sunset Lakes3 sunrise HDR COREL 20150202

They sometimes roost atop the lighthouse in the middle of the lake:

Lighthouse Island at dawn 20150202

Pride appears to be bonding well with Newfie. Very large and in early 5th year plumage, she is assumed to have just turned 4 years old. Her head and tail have not yet turned fully white, although we have watched the progress of her molt over the past three months of their on-again off-again courtship. I arrived at the nest at about 9:40 AM on January 28 and found fellow nest watcher Liza already there. 

Pride had been spending much time on the nest, apparently trying to lure her to join him. Pride and his first mate usually had eggs by mid-December and eaglets would have hatched out a couple of weeks ago. We are concerned that the ideal period for breeding has passed. 

Bald Eagle male in nest 20150102

Two days earlier, "Newfie" was visiting the nest, but only stayed on it briefly.

Bald Eagle Newfie on nest 3-20150126

Liza had been watching for some time but had not seen any eagles. After about 20 minutes the female flew in from the west to the nest area.  She was carrying a good sized fish that looked like a shad. 

Bald Eagle female with fish 20150128

The female circled with it and ended up roosting on top of  a Melaleuca snag to the west of the nest and proceeded to eat the fish. 

Bald Eagle female in flight 20150128

Bald Eagle female with fish 5-20150128

Bald Eagle female with fish 992-20150128

Bald Eagle female with fish 96-20150128

About 10 minutes later (10:20 AM) the male flew in from the SW carrying a small fish which he promptly devoured. 

Bald Eagle male returns to roost 2-20150128

He roosted on an adjacent snag slightly above the female, watching her as she ate. The female finished, at about 10:26 AM. 

Bald Eagle male arrives 20150128

Pride flew out over the road briefly and promptly returned. 

Bald Eagle male returns to roost 20150128

Then Pride flew down and they copulated for about 1 minute 10 seconds. 

Bald Eagles copulating 2-20150128

Bald Eagles mating 2-20150128

Bald Eagles mating 4-20150128

It appeared to have been a successful mating, unlike some the brief attempts that had previously occurred. The male then flew back up to roost briefly before flying off at 10:31 AM. "Newfie" remained on the roost until the male came flying back carrying a stick, and at about 10:50 AM she joined him. 

Bald Eagle female after mating 20150128

Bald Eagle male carries stick 20150128

Both circled high over the nest area, but the male disappeared to the south. When I departed at about 11:00 AM the female had disappeared high and to the south. 

Bald Eagle female soaring 3-20150128

Bald Eagle male soaring 2-20150128


As of February 16, 2015 the nest remained empty. I believe that the chance for a successful breeding season this winter is nil. Hope they will both return as a bonded couple next October!

Bald Eagle empty nest 20150216

Back in March, 2009 a protective fence was put in place by the City of Pembroke Pines, owner of the property. This year as in all the subsequent years, the traffic cones will remain in place until May 15, the official end of the eagles' breeding season:
Fence Construction At Eagle Nest Site Underway 20090306

One of the adult eagles chases an Osprey, forcing it to give up its fish (December 20, 2010). Admittedly there is only a very faint reflection because of the waves:

Bald Eagle 0739-19 AM 20121010

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

________________________________________________

Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display

________________________________________________

44 comments:

  1. The sunrise is gorgeous! I really like all the photos of the eagles.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, awesome captures of the eagles.. and the sunset shot is beautiful. I hope all goes well for Pride and Newfie.. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. One minute and ten seconds - doesn't sound like my kind of guy ;) :D
    Beautiful pictures of the eagles and the first one is just gorgeous!
    Have a fine day
    【ツ】Knipsa

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amazing series. I hope they come back as a happy fertile couple next year. Our remaining eaglet is 50 some days old. The oldest baby died last month, unknown causes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. They are a proud fierce breed, so lovely to watch, and beware of too. My mother and I got too close to a nest apparently the worried mother was protecting. I stopped shooting pictures and we got back in my car. So much for that day of shooting photos!

    ReplyDelete
  6. sorry they missed their window of opportunity this year, but hopefully they'll stay together. thanks for the great shots!

    ReplyDelete
  7. These are gorgeous captures. Magnificent!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I chuckled as I read Knipsa's comment.
    I must say this is an amazing post. I would so love to be able to view and photograph eagles like this. They are amazing birds and you've captured them beautifully.
    It's great they keep a fence and barriers up until after the mating season is over.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Absolutely....amazing pictures... I am so glad I stopped by to see the beauty here. Love it!
    Shug

    ReplyDelete
  10. fabulous series of the eagles. maybe they will still come back.

    ReplyDelete
  11. HI Kenneth That is a fabulous account of the eagles but it is a pity you will have no chicks this year. Cracking series of bird shots. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Exciting moments! Gorgeous shots of the eagles - these are fantastic! Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed them so much.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The sunrise shot is breathtaking. The series of Eagle shots is awesome. Great narrative too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, these photos are a real treat! The eagle shots are amazing, as is that first sky shot.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow these are amazing photos!!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. That shot of sunrise is exquisite Ken, and the eagle series amazing too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beautiful sunrise shot, and captivating shots of the eagles. I hope they return next year. It was interesting to learn about the placing of the cones also.
    Best regards.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow - amazing and majestic shots of the eagles!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello Ken, stopping back just to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  20. These birds are truly magestic! And your photos so amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beautiful shots of bald eagle in action.

    ReplyDelete
  22. wishing the eagles luck in brining in a new generation, nature sure has to work hard these days to survive


    my blog moved to www.pearlmaple.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. These are some exceptional moments and photos. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.
    Such majestic birds!
    Have a Beautiful Day!
    Peace :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Awesome account...hope they will be successful in time!!

    Thank you for joining with your link at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Your photos are in a class above mine wow I feel like I have been looking at a David Attenborough teaser for a new TV show. Thank you so much I have loved getting to know Pride and Newfie through this post, such special photos :)
    Wren x

    ReplyDelete
  26. This is so exciting! I am very happy for you that you have such a wonderful, protected place to observe them and that they feel comfortable there. I hope the new pair will stay together and raise some fledglings next year! Great photos!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Magnificent sunset!! And, what an extraordinary set of pics of the eagles..kudos!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. What incredible creatures - amazing shots!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I meant to tell you congratulations on your 20 pound loss since Dec 1st! Wow! I'm impressed. I've lost 10, but only started a little over a month ago. I know what you mean about maintenance. It's so hard not to go back into old habits! I have quite a bit more to lose...just praying I can hang in there for the long haul! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  30. wow, amazing images of the Bald Eagles. Love them.

    mine is here:
    http://nfaubird.blogspot.se/2015/02/magpie-goose-anseranas-semipalmata.html

    ReplyDelete
  31. Beautiful pics and your story of the eagles had me riveted! So sad that Pride lost his mate. Hopefully next year will be a breeding success.

    That sunrise/set is sensational.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Good to see that the eagles are taking species conservation seriously.

    Given the size of the eagle, I'm not sure thats a small fish!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    ReplyDelete
  33. Great post Ken with fabulous images.

    Let's hope this pair have cemented their relationship in readiness for another try next year.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Brilliant Bald Eagle images and so nice a new mate was selected~

    ReplyDelete
  35. Truly fantastic images. What a success story. Long may it continue.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Beautiful scenery and fab shots of the eagles!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Stunning images of the Bald Eagle.
    Perfect photographed, my compliments.
    Sunrise is also really great.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Great observations to go with the pics. This is good to know. It's wonderful to be able to get personal with "our" birds. Keep sharing their story. What an opportunity to learn! Such a cool bird.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Great photos of the sunset and eagles mating and nesting! We live on Orange Lake in North Central Florida and often see eagles soaring overhead!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting Rosyfinch Ramblings! I will enjoy a visit to your page just as soon as possible.