On Dewees Island, we have a pair of Bald Eagles that have nested here for about a decade on an old osprey nest platform. Until 2020, they were successful at raising eaglets to the fledgling stage each time. (More on the 2020 situation below.) The eagles have been north for the summer, but we expect them back at the end of August. Here is the 2021 nesting season (short videos) in order.
Bald Eagle Nesting Season Updates : Videos in Order:
Bald Eagle nesting season 2021 individual videos
Before Nesting, the Eagles catch a fish
While they’re building the nest, the eagles spend a lot of time on a nearby platform. Here, they catch a fish too big to carry, and we get a close look to watch them figure out what to do.
Update #1: Building the nest
This is officially the first nesting video, touching on building the nest and the beginning of incubation.
Update #2: Location and a switch-off
Here’s a look at how the two platforms interact, and how the two adults switch out and take turns incubating the eggs
Update #3: First Signs of Hatching
40 days from the start of incubation, we see the first signs of hatching, on February 2.
Update #4 Eaglets!!!
Two tiny heads are visible in the nest. The mother feeds them gently and then hunkers down against the chilly wind.
Update #5 Getting bigger
The eagles are a week old, covered with fluffy feathers called natal down. The tiny eaglets don’t thermoregulate until that thermal down comes in to make it possible to be left alone while adults head off the nest to feed.
Update #6 Two weeks old
When a weird February thunderstorm rolls through, we are so glad to see that the eaglets have weathered the storm well. There are still two healthy eaglets in the nest.
Update #7 Five weeks old
The eaglets are now five weeks old, and both youngsters are thriving. They are covered in thermal down, and fed regularly by parents, even though they can be left alone for longer.
Update #8 Six and Seven Weeks Old
We are at 39 and then 50 days, and the eagles have reached almost adult size. They are stretching flight muscles and flapping wings.
Update # 9 8-10 weeks old
Sometimes young eaglets are actually larger than their parents because those first flight feathers are longer than they ever will be again in the bird’s life.
Update #10: Eagles can Fly!!!
The first fledgling has flown, but this is the moment when the second one, apparently unintentionally, flops off the side of the nest and swoops back up to the platform.
Longer Looks at the 2021 Dewees Island Eagle Nesting Season
Most of the short updates are filmed from a quarter mile away, and because the nest is on a big swaying platform and I am on a big swaying platform, they aren’t quite steady. In addition, there was a big gap between ages 2 and 5 weeks because the afternoon weather was horrible or windy, and the mornings are when the sun backlights the nest, making camera focus difficult. Here is some unedited footage from the 2021 season.