Eagles: We Just Want to Play

Do eagles play? Do they try to have fun? I went down early to the Hudson River in New York to watch the young eagles this morning and it appears they do play and enjoy hanging out together.

When I first arrived, the two babies born this spring were on the playground. I think they wanted to enjoy the swings and other equipment to perch on before the children arrived. Maybe they were wondering what all the hype was about in regards to the equipment.

This one perched for a while on a wooden guard rail on the edge of a road. People walking a dog were startled to see it there. The young eagle was not phased by the large dog. He never moved.

Besides flying around they landed on different trees again. In addition, they many times joined each other in their perching spots. They also spent time chasing each other in the air. Unfortunately the lighting on the shots where they are chasing each other around was not very good, so I am leaving them out.

Them seem to join each other a lot. It looks like they are having a conversation.
Team effort- calling out for their parents to bring food most likely. This tree is closer to the river.

I would conclude they do like to play. What do you think? Regardless, I am enjoying the new spots they choose to perch on near the Hudson River.

Baby Eagles Fledge

By Wednesday this past week, both baby eagles were flying. The one that was still branching last weekend was very clumsy. Now both are more confident.

Sitting on the roof of a pavilion.

Today the weather was not very good for photographing wildlife, however, the baby eagles put on a show. They flew from tree to tree and down to the river and back. I loved the trees the picked to land in. I wish their parents would land in the same ones as they were more visible.

This bird, an Oriole? was not too happy about where this eagle planted himself. I think he was not far from its nest. The bird kept singing and flying around him like a gnat.
Stretching his wings occassionally
Hey I was here first! We can’t both be here.
One parent bringing in a fish. Like last week, they young eagles screeched a lot before a fish was brought up around the same time- 11:00. I was there again from around 8-11 or shortly thereafter.

The parents are still bringing fish up to the nest, but now the baby eagles fly back there when they see one parent returning.

I wish the weather would have been better. It was fun to watch these two nonetheless.

Eagle Branching

Fledging is when a bird takes its first flight from the nest. Young eagles typically stay in the nest approximately 10 to 12 weeks. The stage before that is branching. This is when they go between branches of the tree.

On my last post about the eagles you saw the baby eagles in a nest near the Hudson River in New York with the downy, grayish feathers. Now the young eagle has juvenile feathers.

The two babies with their downy, gray feathers. This one was taken a few months ago.

This nest had two baby eagles. Now I see only one. I no longer have a view from above or on level due to the leaves on the trees. The babies a few months ago were exercising their wings by moving them about.

Here is one of the same young eagles a branch below the nest. At this point it is likely full grown. My they grown fast!

On Saturday I saw the young eagle sitting on one branch below the nest the whole time I was there. He seemed like he was unsure of himself or in a pickle. He moved slowly up back and forth on the branch and screeched a lot. Not sure if he was hungry or needed help.

Juvenile feathers

The next day the young eagle was practicing take-offs and landings on neighboring branches and the nest. He seemed quite clumsy as sticks flew off the nest when he landed there.

The eagle here was practicing take-offs and landings between the branches and the nest. I wonder if this one will have fledged by next weekend.

The parents were hardly seen. I did not see them on Saturday. I was only there about 2 hours. A few months ago I could catch the parents feeding the two babies a few times after 8 in the morning. This time, however, I did not see the parents on Sunday between 8-11 a.m. The young eagle was screeching constantly and at one point sounded hurt or desperate when finally the parents flew up one by one to drop off a small fish. The young eagle ate ravenously. I understand the parents may start to withhold food or tempt the young eagle to fly by holding a fish on a neighboring tree.

The eagle is here eating a fish one of the parents dropped off. The lighting is hard with the shadows cast by the branches.

Where is the other young eagle? Has it already fledged? Could it already be out and about enjoying its new ability to fly? Wouldn’t you like to have that bird’s eye view of the Hudson Valley?

Just Like Dad

I am posting just a few more eagle pictures. These were taken today. Two babies are in the nest. Soon it will be hard to see the nest as the trees are starting to bud. The nest is along the Hudson River in New York.

This one seems to be copying dad.
Family portrait

Little fish for little eagles

Eagles in New York

One of the most recognized symbols of America is the bald eagle. They are in every state except Hawaii according to the DEC-NY. A few decades ago they were on the brink of extiction in New York state. Today they are making a resurgence.

Eagle Population

Eagles were previously on the endangered species list. The population of eagles suffered a major decline starting in the 1960s. Eagles were affected by DDT and other pesticides and pollutants. These chemicals were passed along the food chain. As a result, the eggshells of the eagles were weakened, so the babies did not survive.

In 1976 there was only one pair of nesting eagles in New York state. Efforts were put in place to curb pollution and protect eagle habitats. After DDT was banned, eagles were producing young in greater numbers. By 2010 there were 173 breeding pairs of eagles in New York and now eagles have been moved to the threatened species list.

Eagle fortifying the nest along the Hudson River the day after a storm.
When to See Eagles

The best time I found to see eagles, at least in the Hudson Valley, is between February and April. Earlier during that time period you may see them mate. During that time period they also sit on eggs so you may see the father bring a fish up to the mother. After the egg or eggs hatch, you will see them bring more fish up to the nest to feed the young eagles. It is harder to view them once the leaves grow on the trees, as your view of them will be obscured.

A pair of eagles during mating time.
Where to See Eagles

Since eagles mainly eat fish their nests are usually close to bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes. There are nests along the Hudson and Delaware Rivers as well as other bodies of water in the state.

See these websites to find some eagle viewing locations:

https://www.wideopenspaces.com/best-places-see-bald-eagles-new-york/

http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/February-2019/Where-to-View-Eagles-Hudson-Valley/

These only list a few good locations to view them as others may be on private property or in places where locals may not want hoards of people showing up to view them.

Hanging with dad in the nest.

These majestic birds are enjoyable to view from a distance. Curbing pollution reaps rewards for humans and for those in the animal kingdom.