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|04-08-03: Eagles hatch at least one eaglet
|By NANCY ALLEN
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
"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
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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