Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Two juvenile American Bald Eagles practice flapping their wings and branching…

Birding Longboat Key, Florida
...continued from yesterday's American Bald Eagle post.

I need to back up just a bit. The photos of the eagle and eaglet in yesterday's post were taken in the afternoon in wonderful sunlight, but my day of birding with Rick (the Sarasota Birding Guide) started at 7:30 a.m. before dawn had crept her rosy fingers across the sky, so it was still fairly dark. To compensate for the lack of sunlight, I upped the camera's ISO to 1600 and hoped for the best. The high ISO made these photos a little fuzzy, but that's okay. We can see what they're doing, and that's good!

Rick said the two eaglets were expected to fledge any day, and they showed it by flapping their wings over and over and hopping from branch to branch (branching). They also would jump down into the nest from branches higher in the tree, and several times it seemed like they were about to soar out for that first flight. Last year’s eaglets were in no hurry to leave the nest, and the parents actually had to start dismantling the nest to encourage the eaglets to fledge. I wonder if this year’s brood will want to hang around for extra time too?


These eaglets were expected to fledge any day. You can really see personality differences and facial differences between the two. They don't look to happy with each other in this photo!

Here they are looking at papa in a tree across the path, probably hoping for breakfast!

...what a wingspan! When the first eaglet started flapping her wings, her huge size became apparent.

...not to be outdone, the second juvenile joins in.

...this photo cracks me up. The first eaglet turned her head upside down as she looked at her brother. She seems to be thinking, "What are you doing? Your form is all wrong!"

...she still seemed a bit confused with the second eaglet's flapping form and branching skills.

...but he does just fine as he hops down to the nest below.

The first eaglet goes back to flapping her wings. When the eaglets practice flapping their wings and branching, they are strengthening their muscles, but they are also developing their perching skills. Up to this point they've spent most of their time sitting in the nest. To walk along the branch and perch, they use their wings to help them move their talons.

...hopping to the nest below.

...time for a rest.
I wonder if she has fledged yet...

I'm just guessing this eaglet is a female. She was larger than the other eaglet, so since female hawks and eagles are larger than males, I made her a female!

37 comments:

Elaine said...

Kelly, these are fabulous! Yes, they are a little fuzzy, but they tell such a wonderful story that it doesn't matter at all. Your narrative made me laugh. It reminded me of when I had teenagers at home, and the story about last year when the parents started dismantling the nest is too funny. Getting your kids to leave home can be very difficult, but what an extreme way to accomplish that! Great post.

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
Despite the weather conditions, you got beautiful pictures. The whole sequence is wonderful!! I'd love to see some eagle on nest like this but ours are protected and we cannot get close to the nest, so it is nice to see some on your blog!

Abraham said...

You really did get some nice action photos of these birds, Kelly. I suppose there might be some color noise due to the higher ISO but it is hard to see. I think the photos are sharp enough. I would be pleased with them but first I got to get them to land here. And that isn't likely. I don't really know much about eagles or what they eat but am guessing fish is their favorite food.

Roy said...

These are just amazing images Kelly.

Bird Girl said...

How amazing! Yes, I do see the personality difference on their faces - these are fantastic! I sometimes watch red-tails branching and it is the best time of the nesting sequence!

Michelle Palmer said...

Good Morning~ Your blog is a TREASURE! So glad you have left a comment so I could visit and be in awe~
Your photography is wonderful!
Your watercolors/art GORGEOUS!
Hope your day day is wonderful~
Michelle

Laure Ferlita said...

Love the looking "upside down at the sibling" shots!! I'm SURE I must have looked at my brothers that way from time to time!!! LOL!

Great shots!

grammie g said...

Who could hardly believe that such a majestic bird as the eagle would have such homely ""children"" HA HA!! The picture are great and I especially like the twisted head--I think it is saying you think your so smart look what I can do!! I am not sure about restictions on how near you can get to a nest here in Me. but they nest on power line poles that cross major highways--wonder--would they corner of that part--Just being funny!!!

Montanagirl said...

Kelly, this is a wonderful series! What an experience for you. The upside down looking shot is really cute. Great work!

Lisa M Griffin said...

Wow! I am in awe of these shots! Gorgeous and so close I want to reach out and touch them. What a treat it was to come across your blog.

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

What a fun day you had shooting these. Your captures sure made me smile.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh how neat, Kelly.. You are so lucky to get to have seen this. I think these are the first little ones I have ever seen. I had no idea they started out so dark --and different... What an interesting post. Thanks for much for all of the great information.
Hugs,
Betsy

Reema B. said...

Thank you so much for sharing how these majestic creatures learn how to fly and perch. You're so lucky to be able to see such sights and I (and I'm sure the rest of your readers too) feel lucky to have followed your blog here to be able to see them even if not directly.

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You're more than welcome to come stop by the **Tea House** at http://teatimereflections.blogspot.com

Dave said...

I think it's awesome that you get to see and photograph so much of them growing up before they fledge. Please keep us updated.

Marthann's Musings said...

Oh my goodness Kelly. These pictures are unbelievable. Thanks for sharing. Thanks also for visiting my blog. I am pretty new at all of this.

Wanda said...

What wonderful photos, Kelly...you captured so many different poses. Enjoyed them all.

Warren Baker said...

Sorry to hear you are experiencing the dismall weather as well Kelly. The Eagles brighten up the day though :-)

holdingmoments said...

Fantastic sequence Kelly. Must have been amazing watching them.

Wren said...

How wonderful, Kelly! Thanks for sharing. Isn't it hard to think of something that big as a being a baby?

Larry said...

Wow! what a great series of photos!
I feel like I'm right there with the family. Great work!

Carol Mattingly said...

Just gorgeous photos Kelly. Carol

Cindy said...

Kelly, great shots of the eaglets!!! Sounds like great birding.

Lana Gramlich said...

Aren't they just fantastic birds? There's a nest at a local state park here, too. I'll have to check on it again next time I'm over there...

JKoenig said...

And to think they are just babies! You got some wonderful shots.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

These are terrific, Kelly. I still haven't seen our local eagle pair. Going back again today if I can get all my laundry done first.

Nature As Is said...

Kelly lovely series...you captured the events superbly...nicely done.

Tammie Lee said...

Kelly,
This is a stunning group of photos! The details are fabulous. Thank you for sharing these.

Anna said...

Kelly you always surprise me with your beautiful birding photos. They are not just photos of birds, but there is action and art. Thanks for sharing again, Anna :)

The Early Birder said...

Whow Kelly this is fabulous nature in action. How exciting to be able to get so close. Thanks for the link...I learnt a lot and no wonder they grow so quickly as they put on the pounds! Cheers, FAB.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Kelly, I think all your bird photos are amazing, and I've learned so much about birds since I discovered your blog through Laure. I really enjoy reading it, even if I don't comment on every post.

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NatureFootstep said...

how wonderful to experience something like that. In real life and not on a TV screen. :)

TonyC said...

Great posts Kellym, as always!!

Greener Bangalore said...

I liked the clear white sky up above in the backdrop of that tree :)

Kelly said...

Thanks, everyone! We didn't get to see the mama or papa deliver a fish for their breakfast, which would have been cool, but just watching them hop around was amazing. I'm so glad I got to see these eagles up close. Next spring when i go back, I hope they have nested there again!!

oldcrow61 said...

You do take the most wonderful pictures.

RuthieJ said...

WOWZA! How cool is that?
I bet you could have stood there all day watching the show!