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04-08-03: Eagles hatch at least one eaglet
The Daily Standard
    A pair of North American bald eagles likely have hatched at least one eaglet in a nest on Grand Lake St. Marys.
    Local volunteer eagle watcher Jill Bowers, St. Marys, said she believes the eaglet(s) hatched some time on Saturday.
    Though there is no way to know exactly how many babies the pair hatched yet, Bowers said she saw one of the adult birds feeding to one area in the nest, indicating at least one eaglet.
    "I definitely think we saw feeding yesterday," Bowers said this morning.  "The bird would poke its head down into the nest and stick its tail in your face. They looked like they were feeding to one spot."
    The first 10 days are the most critical for eaglets because their bodies, devoid of down feathers, are unable to regulate their body heat. They rely solely on their parents for warmth and protection from the elements. They don't get their fuzzy down feathers until they are about three weeks old.
    "They have to be kept warm and dry. If they get wet and the parent can't keep them warm, that's bad," Bowers said.
    Wildlife officials think the female laid an egg or eggs around March 2.
    The nest is located in a tree off the east side of U.S. 127 where it intersects with Johnston Road. It is the same nest the pair used last year to successfully hatch and rear one chick. An undetermined number of young hatched by the pair in a different nest on the lake the year before did not survive.
    Bowers said she first noticed the birds' behaviors changed on Saturday afternoon.
    "The bird would poke its head down to look down into the nest like there was something there," Bowers said she witnessed Saturday. "It seemed to be sitting higher on the nest too."
    At three different times Sunday, Bowers said she saw one of the adult birds stand up and put its head down into the nest like it was feeding. The adult birds will feed the young regurgitated food for the first couple of weeks until they can handle solid food.
    It will be about two weeks before the young are old enough to poke their heads out of the nest for an actual head count, Bowers said. Young eagles usually leave the nest when they are 10 to 12 weeks old.


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