June 5-30: Eagles have returned to the nest which was abandoned after it partially collapsed a few years ago. As you can see in the photo, an inquisitive eaglet inhabits the nest. He/she can easily be heard asking for food several times a day. The eaglet is growing and learning quickly. It was toilet trained weeks ago shortly after it could waddle to the edge of the nest. Although it still is sometimes fed by an adult, it also appears to be learning to feed itself from the fish which are flown in several times a day. The eaglet can frequently be seen stretching its relatively large and quickly developing wings. Although it is not yet ready to venture out of the nest to sit on a branch, it sometimes sits near the edge of the nest looking intently at nearby branches. In the short time we have been observing, it has already gone from being a cute, little, fluffy eaglet to being a much larger, more gangly, and more demanding youngster.
First Time Out of Nest On Branch - July 10
July 11-13: During the busy two weeks since the June entry above, the eaglet has grown a great deal, and it has gotten much more active. It has also learned (after much crying/squeeling) to tear apart its own food once it has been delivered. On July 10th, after days of flapping wings, hopping around in the nest, and studying locations of branches, the eaglet finally made it to a branch a few feet above and to the side of the nest. Since then it has spent several hours each of the last few days sitting in this location along with practicing hanging on and getting up and down. Since this resting place is partially in the path of the adults who operate the "Meals on Wings" program, there have been some minor mishaps with slight collisions and missteps as the youngster hurriedly races to get back into the nest when deliveries occur.
July 26 - August 1: The eaglet left its tree for the first time on July 26th as expected. He/she can frequently be seen flying and heard squeeling as it makes the adults aware it needs to be fed. Although flying now, it still appears to be dependent on its parents to catch its food. The eaglet was soon seen learning to catch its own food once it had sufficiently mastered its takeoffs, flights, and landings.
August 5: While watching the eaglet that had returned to the nest for the first time since it first left on July 26th, it became apparent that it sounded a little different and it looked darker. A closer examination revealed two eaglets were at the nest. The one hatched in the nest this year was somewhat hidden in the corner, while the darker and slightly larger one strutted around as if it owned the nest. The Gratiot Lake eaglet was obviously not happy and jumped at the invader and tried to push it unsuccessfully and retreated back to its corner.
Over the next few weeks, the two seemed to learn to get along and could be seen flying together or could be heard calling back and forth to one another at times they were not together. Our speculation is that perhaps the intruder was an immature from a previous year's hatch that may have been interested in hanging out with a younger eaglet which was still getting some free meals from the adults. It is possible that this was the same immature that the adults had quickly chased from the vacinity of the nest several times during the weeks before this year's eaglet had fledged.
The eaglet telling an intruder to leave its nest.
Select a topic below to see a Quicktime video of this year's eaglet in action. The longer videos will require a high speed connection or you could start the download and then go do something else for awhile.
(Remember to close one video window before opening another.)
A Very Hungry Eaglet
Interesting Feeding Behavior
Naughty Eaglet Gets A Time-Out
A Very Hungry Eaglet (larger version)
(5 min. 55 sec.)
An Exciting Evening Meal
(15 min. 55 sec.)
Food Delivery Mishap
Morning In The Nest
(18 min. 30 sec.)
A Little Bird Watching
That Is MY Fish
(1 min. 43 sec.)
Working Out The Kinks
(1 min. 29 sec.)
Insects Distract Eaglet From Begging
(1 Min. 7 sec.)
Annual Bald Eagle Nesting Census of
Keweenaw Peninsula Nests
* Baraga County's aerial survey did not include 5 of that county's nest sites.
2010 Gratiot Eaglet
Click Here to see a slideshow of the banding of the 2003 eaglet.
Click here to see a short excerpt from an eagle banding video. (1 MB QuickTime)