Now that the eaglets are rarely seen at the nest, we thought it was a good time to wrap up our blog for the season. The eaglets seem to be doing well — having survived their first flight — and they’re now spending the majority of their time outside the view of the camera.
Young eaglets will spend their first summer and fall in the area, with their parents providing the occasional meal and keeping tabs on them. But slowly the eaglets will become completely independent, and by the winter, when the parents are ready to begin a new breeding season at the nest, the eaglets will be on their own.
The eaglets might stay in the Chesapeake Bay area for the winter, since it’s a better place to find a meal than up north, but eventually the eaglets will begin wandering away from the Refuge. If you visit the “CCD Bald Eagle Tracking Success” post on The Center for Conservation Biology blog, you can see a map showing where a young eagle that was tagged at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland went over a four-year period. The eagle, named Fairlee, migrated between the Chesapeake Bay region and the St. Lawrence Seaway up north. Fairlee wasn’t tied to a mate or a nest, so the immature eagle was free to roam. Eventually when a bird like Fairlee reaches adulthood, it will settle down, probably in the area where it fledged, and begin looking for a mate and nest tree.
As for our two cam chicks, Glider and Chaser are likely spending their days perching in the trees, hunting in the fields and over the river, roosting in the trees at night, and following their parents around, hoping for a meal. Below is a nice photo showing two immature bald eagles flying over the Blackwater River. The Refuge is definitely a great place for a young raptor to learn to hunt and fish in the company of other eagles (and ospreys — whose fish they can steal!), and we’re sure Glider and Chaser are enjoying their adventures beyond the nest.
We plan to keep the Eagle Cam Gallery open (and we have some photos we’ll be posting soon) in case anything interesting shows up on the cam. We want to thank everyone for following our birds for another year and we hope to see you in late November for a new season.