Eaglet not present on nest this morning 9:30-10:15 AM
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Multiple observers reported that the eaglet was not seen at the nest yesterday. We arrived there around 9:30AM and found two other watchers present. Up to that point the nest was empty and no eagles had been sighted. At 9:50 an adult suddenly appeared on the nest, having flown into the wind from behind. It immediately began eating what looked like very fresh bloody prey. It was possibly the male adult, judging by the low forehead (little angle between beak and forehead). This is the expected behavior of the adults after the eaglet leaves the nest. Hunger will normally drive the youngster to return to the nest to be fed within 2-3 days-- at least that has been our experience. We heard no vocalizations to suggest the presence of the eaglet.
If you can get to see the nest even for short periods of time, it will be important in helping us determine the welfare of the eaglet, as the first flight carries quite a high risk of injury or mortality. Listen for the calls of the eaglet, especially as adults arrive at the nest with prey. Notice whether the adults seem to be looking down at a certain place for an extended period of time, which might indicate that the eaglet is grounded. Normally the eaglet will climb up to the upper branches of one of the trees in the local wooded area, then travel back to the nest by taking short flights from one treetop to another.
At about 85 days of age, this eaglet should have been well prepared for flight, even though she did not appear to be as active and did not climb up on branches for 2-3 days before fledging, as we have seen in the past.