Taken the 2nd week of August, this image of one of the juvies coming in for a landing at the nesting tree really shows off the beautiful feathering of this majestic bird. Having fledged around a month and a half ago, they have had plenty of time to practice their landings, and it is quite the joy to watch them as they gracefully navigate the wind and gently land on a branch.
. . . So I was able to get pretty close before it turned around, crouched down and then sprung to flight. Very lucky that the evening sun was perfect, and it flew right into the light. The colors and the layers of the feathers are stunning and beautiful. Hard to believe that just a mere 3 and a half months ago it was a little gray furball that could barely keep its head up.
. . . It's a waiting game, and before the leaves come out on the trees it is much easier to spot the adult coming to the nest from afar. But once Spring has sprung, the good news is that the eaglets high up in the nest will usually spot the incoming adult and start squawking pretty loudly, so all of us waiting to capture the moment with our cameras can get ready and then fire off a few frames.
The weeks leading up to this image were very interesting to watch the eaglets as their wings started to fill out, and they began stretching them out and figuring out just what in the heck to do with them. On windier days, they would position themselves into the face of the wind and start flapping and catching a little air at first. And then as they got better and more comfortable, they would really start putting some space between themselves and the nest, especially if they caught a good gust of wind . . .
By the middle part of May the eaglets are probably 4 to 5 weeks old, and you can see in this photo they are starting to get their brown feathers from the top of their heads down through their back (known as the cloak). Their pinfeathers have also emerged (see image below) and their wings are growing at a rapid rate. They are a little past the halfway point in the nest . . .
We'll start with the December 2019 image (which is also on the cover), and this image was from April 2019 and captures (what I believe to be) the adult male. The male and female were both sitting in the top of the tree by the nest with the recently hatched eaglets, and he took off to fly to the river and grab some grub for the little ones.