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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: