Thursday, May 28, 2020

Raptor Rapture: Eagles and eaglets

There has been lots of excitement at the Bald Eagle nest in Pembroke Pines near our south Florida home. We have been following this nest since it was "discovered" in 2008. Over that time, the male "Pride," his first mate "Joy" and present mate "Jewel" have produced 25 known eaglets over all the seasons except in 2014-2015. That was when Jewel replaced Joy, who mysteriously disappeared in October, 2014. 

This was Joy in January, 2014, then tending to her final brood:

Bald Eagle adult on nest 3-20140105

Bald Eagle 0909-1 adult2 flies to west 20140111

P Piney 13 and 12, Joy's last brood, January, 2014:

Bald Eagle chicks P Piney 13 and 12  interact 2-20140131

Jewel was young, probably early in her fifth year and still exhibited some immature plumage. She seemed to lack the maternal instinct when they mated in early January 2015, probably too late in the season. She may have laid some eggs which Pride appeared to incubate for a time, but they did not breed successfully. 

The next season (2015-16) got off to a good start, with evidence that their first egg was laid on December 13, about average for this nest. However, a severe wind storm in late January damaged the nest and killed their 4-day old eaglet as well as any unhatched eggs which may have been present. The pair proved they were resourceful and bred a second time, producing two eaglets which hatched out around March 16, 2016. One of their two nestlings appeared to have either been out-competed or killed by its sibling. The surviving eaglet fledged successfully on June 16, 2016.

Jewel in December, 2016: 

Bald Eagle female Jewel 20161228

Jewel in flight, March 2017:

Bald Eagle female in flight 03-20170319

The pair successfully raised two offspring in the 2016-2017 season. The next season (2017-2018), one of their two nestlings also disappeared when about 2 weeks old. The surviving eaglet took her first flight in early April, 2018. Last season (2018-2019), two eaglets were successfully raised during the 2018-2019 season. They fledged in early April, 2019. 

Jewel soaring with Tree Swallows, December 2018: 

Bald Eagle female Jewel in flight101-20181227

Pride and Jewel (noticeably larger, to the right) on the nest while they were renovating it in late September, 2019

Bald Eagle Pride and Jewel 4-20190929

The present season (2019-2020) was a repeat of the tragedy of 2016. After we saw evidence that at least one eaglet was present in the nest on January 2, 2020, two severe thunderstorms on January 4 and 10th damaged the nest and presumably mortally injured or killed the offspring. After that, the pair worked to restore the nest and they copulated on January 25. 

There was good evidence that the pair was exchanging incubation duties over a second clutch of eggs by mid-February and that at least one of two surviving eaglets was present on March 14, 2020. Two eaglets are now about 10 1/2 weeks (~75 days) old. The first-hatched, which we believed to be the a female ("P Piney 24," the 24th known progeny), fledged successfully  a week ago, on May 21. 

Although she has been heard calling near the nest, she had not been seen at the nest for the past seven days. It is not unusual for newly-fledged eaglets to go missing for a few days until hunger drives them back to the nest to be fed. Most birds tend not to return to their nest after their first flight. Bald Eagles, particularly when there is more than one eaglet, are enticed to continue occupying the nest while they gain hunting skills and learn to become independent. This is habit keeps the family unit together and is a more efficient way of feeding and protecting them. 

Jewel with female eaglet (P Piney 24) on April 1, 2020:

Bald Eagle female 736-20200401

Male eaglet (P Piney 25) alone on nest, May 22, 2020:

Bald Eaglet male P Piney 25 02-20200522

For latest reports on this nest, visit: CURRENT 2019-2020 Observations of Pembroke Pines Bald Eagle Nest

Pride in flight, May 22, 2020:

Bald Eagle male Pride in flight 03 -20200522

I saw this Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly while watching the nest on May 22:

 Ruddy Daggerwing 01-20200522

Storms threatened nearly every morning as we moved into the wet season. Here, the sun struggled to escape the cloud cover:

Sunburst over Monaco Cove 20200520

Before sunrise on May 23, the sky to the northwest was alive with color:

Pine Bank before sunrise 2-20200523

Storms appeared to be moving in...

Storms moving in 02-20200523

...but this one passed by and produced a rainbow which reflected nicely:

Rainbow over 196th Ave Canal 20200522

The entrance to our subdivision glows under the rising sun:

Monaco Cove entry 20200522

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Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters

BirdD'Pot

Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Our World Tuesday


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Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display
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29 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos! All I'm watching are robins, wood ducks and phoebes! These are amazing.

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  2. Wow Ken! Fabulous Eagle images. And your sky shots are a delight to look at.

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  3. Both the eagle and the sky shots are superb!

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  4. Hello my friend Kenneth! I have always been amazed by the Bald Eagle! No wonder its been chosen as the National Bird of the USA. I love how perfect the combination of the browns, whites, and yellows on their body and face. I feel sad that the tragedy happened again to Jewel's offspring passed away but I sure hope they will still produce more heirs :)

    Kenneth I am so happy to see you on Timeless Thursdays and it means a lot that you joined :) Hope to see you again on the next weeks with these beautiful memories from you of our winged friends! May you have a great weekend ahead!

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  5. Stunning captures of the eagle, my favourite bird. Your scenic photos are also beautiful. Have a wonderful and safe weekend.

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  6. I have been trying to capture the egrets but they are elusive every time

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  7. Wow, so cool!.

    The observation of the eagle's natural habitat that you do and the shot of the picture amazed me. The dashing bird is clearly physically visible.

    Greetings from Indonesia

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  8. I like yous incredible skies

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  9. Hello, I enjoyed seeing your Bald Eagle and eaglets photos. They are all amazing. Our local nest were not successful this year. Love the butterfly. Your sky shots are just stunning. Gorgeous photos! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend!

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  10. How wonderful to follow the Eagles over the years! I'm so pleased to see that young one this year! Love your sky photos! It's been so beautiful in the evenings this week. Lots of neat clouds. Happy weekend!

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  11. What a great success story, and such awesome birds.

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  12. all awesome but butterfly spellbinding

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  13. I really enjoyed the historic value you shared of the eagles, and how you followed along, making it a success story! Beautiful.

    Taking time from your day to share this post is appreciated at I'd Rather B Birdin this week...thanks!

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  14. We have lots of eagles in the Pacific Northwest and we even have some that hang around the tall trees in our hometown of Powell River, BC. The babies look quite prehistoric. - Margy

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  15. Amazingly beautiful photos and I love the header!

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  16. It must be so amazing to watch bald eagles and their babies! And what a beautiful butterfly. Your sky photos are always stunning as well.

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  17. What a wonderful opportunity! I've watched nest cams on line and been fascinated, but to actually watch it - what a treasure!
    Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2020/06/more-quarantine-baking.html

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  18. So neat that you have been able to follow this eagle couple for a number of years!Don't they see you, or they're not afraid of your appearance? Am asking because smaller birds immediately bolt when they hear the click of my camera. Anyways, great to have an update for All Eeasons from these eagles and their offspring. The landscapes are stunning, Ken! enjoy your week, Jesh

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  19. Wonderful birds - love the shot with the swallows!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  20. Lovely Skies and Birds. Fantastic!

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  21. Oh, what majestic birds! I love seeing your photos. The sky shots are so wonderfully colorful!

    Thanks for being a part of 'My Corner of the World' this week!

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  22. Superb photographs, Ken! Love all those sky shots!

    What an incredible record you've maintained for the eagles. Very special perspective to be able to observe the life cycle of these magnificent creatures.

    Hope you and your family are well. Looks like breeding season for the birds is continuing with or without us out and about hassling them!

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  23. This is one interesting posts and beautiful photography.

    They are indeed a good looking couple. The women being really attractive.

    I love their names..... have you named them?

    I have never done nest watching leave alone in such detail.

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  24. Great shots! Eagles are such big birds; it seems odd that their little ones have trouble surviving.

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  25. This week images are incredible! Have a lovely weekend!

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