At this age our chicks are not able to regulate their own body temperatures, and they’re very vulnerable to wet weather with their soft gray down, so our parents covered the chicks for most of yesterday. Fortunately today the family enjoyed good weather and got caught up in some of the lost meals from Wednesday.
We’ve been watching our youngest eaglet — who hatched six days behind his oldest sibling — to see if he can get any advantage during mealtime. Below is a video we made from cam stills showing our youngest in varying positions. At the beginning of the video, he’s in a great spot — right in front of the feeding parent and in front of the oldest chick. But then as you watch, you see he gets out of position in later meals, sometimes with another chick sitting on his head!
It’s also interesting to see the oldest chick pecking at the middle chick during this clip. This might actually help our youngest bird if the oldest bird sees the middle chick as the bigger threat, and leaves the littlest alone. We don’t want to see any of the chicks bullied, but it’s going to happen, and our youngest really needs a break at this point, so if the oldest eaglet focuses his aggression elsewhere for a while, it might give our littlest eaglet the chance he needs to catch up in size.
We recently updated our Eagle Cam Gallery with photos of the hatchings, so be sure to take a look if you missed it. And thanks very much to those who sent in their photos (you can find out how to submit photos here). Also, a note to any teachers we have reading: If you have trouble viewing the YouTube videos, please write me at the address below, and we can work on another format for any classrooms that are blocked from viewing YouTube videos.
Charlotte Eagle Cam
Finally, we want to talk about the very sad news out of the Carolina Raptor Center in Charlotte, North Carolina today. Cam watchers had noticed that the eaglet born to the captive parents Derek and Savannah was not on the nest this morning. The eaglet had been doing well, and no one suspected any issues, but the Center made this announcement today:
Enhanced predator protection is in place at the eagle aviary, and there were no obvious breaches in the enclosure, providing little evidence as to the identity of the predator. There are numerous carnivorous predators that are naturally found in Latta Plantation Nature Preserve.
“We are particularly saddened by the death of the eaglet in this way, because we put forth tremendous effort to protect our birds,” said Executive Director Jim Warren. “The predator protection includes chain link fencing that is dug into the ground to prevent predators from digging under barricades.”
Savannah and Derek have produced chicks since 2006, and this is the first predator attack in the eagle aviary since the aviary was opened. There is no evidence that any of the resident bald eagles were involved or injured in the incident.
We offer our sympathies to the Carolina Raptor Center and to all their Eagle Cam fans. Hopefully they’ll be able to identify how the predator gained access and prevent it from happening again.