When we checked on the Bald Eagles this Sunday morning we were happy to find one adult bird on the nest setting eggs. From the various reports I have received it seems likely that incubation began last Friday, January 24, 2014. This exciting development has occurred several weeks earlier than last year when it was mid-February before I was able to confirm that eggs were being incubated.
We arrived at the nest site at around 9:30am, and at the time we could just barely make out the head of the adult bird sitting on the nest. Fortunately just a short time later the second adult bird arrived on the scene and perched himself above the nest.
SIDE NOTE: It is usually very easy to tell the difference between the male and female Bald Eagles because the female is noticeably larger than the male. For some reason, this size difference is not as apparent in these photographs. Because of this I will be referring to the eagle that was originally sitting on the nest as the female, and the one who arrived as we watched as the male.
The adult female was very excited about the arrival of the male. Apparently she really needed a break and did not waste anytime turning the nest over to her mate.
The female flew over to an adjacent tower, but she only stayed there a short while. Soon she was back in the air and headed out over the wetlands in order to hunt.
The male took his time moving down to the nest, and he seemed to have a little trepidation. It sometimes looks to me as if these birds—while certainly highly motivated to tend to the nest—would possible rather be doing something else. I think he had to psych himself up a bit.
And he eventually did. We watched the as the male dropped down onto the nest, where he promptly settled in for the long haul.
At this time we moved to a different viewing location where we hoped to have a better look at the eagle on its nest. From this new spot we were able to easily see the males handsome—but slightly obscured—profile!