No adult birds were present at the nest when we arrived this week. The eaglets too were nowhere to be seen. In spite of their rapidly increasing size, they still have the ability to hide away in the nest—at least as seen from our ground-based vantage point.
Bald Eagle young reportedly have the fastest growth rate of any North American bird, and the pair in this nest continue to astound with their rapid progress. Gone is the white downy plumage of youth—replaced the rich brown feathers of young adulthood.
The eaglets are very nearly as large as the adults now, and their fight feather are all but in. Bald Eagles will typically fledge at anywhere from 8 to 14 weeks. Our birds are approximately 6 to 7 weeks old now and their fledging date is rapidly approaching. I think it is likely that the eaglets will start moving away from the nest in the next week or so. It will be interesting to see how that process takes place.
After several hours, the mother eagle finally returned to the nest. She rocketed in from the northeast flying high in the sky, and circled our position a time or two before making a dramatic landing on top of one of the transmission towers. Unexpectedly, she had no prey with her on her return.