Jan 17 observation 1:30-1:35pm - hatchling or piece of prey?
Hello. New here after reading the article in the Herald about the nest and have gone by a couple of times this week. Today, I went for 5 minutes and took some quick photos from my car. I couldn't really see what was going on until after I left, but the eagle was perched just above the nest, flew down on the nest, picked something up and set it on the edge and stood by looking protective. I had read that the little ones could soon be out on the branches in the next few weeks, so I got excited thinking what was in my photos was a baby. After posting some pics on Instagram all excited, I may have embarrassed myself after googling and seeing that the eaglets would have some white fuzz - maybe what I saw was a piece of prey. When I look at the last 2 photos, it seems there was movement in a head of the "little thing" and what looks like a beak. Ken asked me to post these here to see if anyone had any opinions. Since I was parked across the street, the quality is not very good - I apologize.
Re: Jan 17 observation 1:30-1:35pm - hatchling or piece of prey?
Wow! A newly hatched eaglet would not yet show much white fuzz, but it is born with it and when it dries it does cover its body and it takes a couple of days to fill out, Here is a link to a photo of a new hatchling from imageshack:
The object could well be a portion of a prey item such as a bird or fish, but its shape is certainly suggestive of a small creature. Eagles do not catch items that small to my knowledge, but it could be part of a bird or fish.
The third photo shows the male grasping or eating what could be a narrow bone or piece of flesh. That gives me hope that it is not an eaglet. In the next two photos it is positioned in an way that would be very unusual for a newly hatched eaglet. A hatchling would not stand up straight like that. The color appears to be that of fresh blood. It also may simply be the bloodied part of a larger prey item as it seems to be positioned within the nest cup, poking up behind the rim rather than sitting up on the rim.
In sum I'm a bit more optimistic than when I first saw this striking image. We'll see what others think.
Margie, thanks so much for joining the FORUM and for providing such an interesting glimpse into the life of these birds, even though your photos raise a disturbing question.
And the beaks on the eaglets are very dark. I'm not sure if the part that is suspected beak is the bright colored part....but that definitely would not belong to an eaglet. I noticed when I was there that the adults are reaching way down into the nest so I think the rim was really built up this year due to the deterioration of the nest. Could it be longer than usual before we see a head?