Juvenile eagle taking off from a branch

Since the time that both of the eaglets fledged toward the end of June, they have been on quite a few adventures not only in the area around the nesting grounds, but also within a few miles of the nest. As they become more confident with their flying, they like to spread their wings, if you will.

A few times when the wind has been up, we have watched them take off from the nesting tree and then glide overhead until they catch a thermal and ride the heat wave up into the sky. It really must be quite a feeling to be free to roam the skies after being nestbound the first part of your short life.

The July image for Eagles and Eaglets 2020 calendar shows one of the juvies taking off from a branch a few hundred feet west of the nesting tree. I watched it as it had taken off from the nest, and knew that it had flown to the west.

As I walked back to see if I could find it, there it was perched up on the branch facing away from me. By the way, there was a big storm a few weeks earlier that had broken a lot of the limbs from the trees. Behind the right wing, you can see the remnants of one of the branches that had broken off.

So I was able to get pretty close before it turned around, looked right at (through) me, then looked around and then forward, 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.

There are more images below of this series in the gallery.

Juvenile Eagle Close Encounter