We have been anxious about the welfare of the eaglet, as it has not been reported as having been seen by the watchers since 4 days ago, on March 5th. Yesterday, the eaglet's call was heard when both adults came to the nest and tore at prey. This eaglet is not quite 8 weeks old, too young to get back up to the nest if it does fall out. Were the adults enticing it to return to the nest? Well, this morning we got out at the nest site at 7:45 and there was no sign of the eaglet and no adults were present. Then, at 8:00 we were so relieved to see the dark shape of the eaglet in the nest. It stuck its head up and remained visible for only one minute, then disappeared for another 15 minutes. It still has a little fuzzy white cap.
We decided to depart to go birding at Chapel Trail. Just as I was getting in the car I heard the cry of the eaglet, looked up and sure enough an adult was on the nest, feeding it! Interestingly, the eaglet did not raise its head up to be fed. Perhaps it assumes a submissive position, much unlike the aggressiveness we have seen in the past when two or three eaglets competed to be fed. Since the adult stood on the left (east) rim of the nest it was obscured by branches. The wind was almost still. I tried to get a better view by moving to Mike Fossler's favorite vantage point, where the entire nest can be seen at once-- if the wind is right. This did not work, as there was no help from the wind to push those branches away.
Here is the view from "Mike's Spot."
A white pigeon flew in and seemed relatively tame-- maybe one released at a wedding or funeral. I checked to see if any hawks were around, thinking it would make a nice meal for one.
I returned to the car at 8:30 AM and after starting the motor glanced up at the bare tree where were have seen Merlins several times over the years. Sure enough, I had to kill the engine and grab the camera! The Merlin was about 175-200 feet away, so the images are soft. I did not stay to see if the Merlin caught a meal.
Not many birds at Chapel Trail this morning, and the few we saw were not cooperative. The pasture next to the preserve was interesting, as there were several very young calves frolicking with the Cattle Egrets.
And thank you, Jill, for all you have contributed to this effort. Special thanks for coming all the way out yesterday to check on the eaglet. We feel bad that you missed seeing any action at the nest. Usually if you wait 1-2 hours something interesting is bound to happen.