Eagles at Bellair Farm


 

IMG_1375This Spring, during potato planting, we spotted a pair of bald eagles next to a field bordering the Hardware River.  Upon closer inspection, we discovered their nest.  Since one of the eagles is constantly in the nest right now, its big white head is visible from the field.  We are very lucky to experience this, because they do not like human disruption around their nesting sites.

The female eagle is in the nest nearly 100% of the time currently, because it is incubating eggs.   Bald eagles lay earlier than other birds of prey.  They lay one to three eggs, but they rarely raise more than two.  The other of the pair guards the nest and hunts for the both of them.  The eaglets will hatch in mid-April to early May.  They will fledge (grow true feathers) in June to early July.  They will then remain with the parents for about 8 more weeks before leaving the nest for good.  It will take four to five years for an eagle to fully develop its adult plumage and be ready to reproduce.

Bald eagles are the largest raptor in North America and make the largest nest of any North American bird.  The nests are generally occupied for less than five years due to the sheer weight taking down the branch of the tree.   They nest near water, since fish is their primary food source.  They also eat small mammals, even deer fawn.

 Once nearly extinct due to DDT, the bald eagle has successfully come back.  It is no longer on the endangered species list.  The bald eagle is the national symbol of the United States and is very significant in many Native American spiritual and religious ceremonies.

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