We got to spend a few hours on the Lake with GiddyUpGirl's brothers family on Saturday.
Took a few pictures of the Bald Eagles. Very nice and relaxing day.
Extra Info from the Lakes website:
JRL Resident Bald Eagles
Our resident breeding pair of American Bald Eagles has again fledged a pair of young this year. They have been breeding at the lake for the last 15 years and usually fledge two young a year and did fledge three young several years ago.
Some eagles do not breed every year but are capable of breeding annually from the age of four, but some adults, though paired, seem to choose not to breed. It might be an instinctive decision, based on weather, availability of nesting sites or food. We are fortunate that our eagles have successfully breed for the nine years they have been residents.
Eagles lay from one to three eggs. Five to ten days after a successful mating the female lays a speckled off-white or buff colored egg about the size of a goose egg. The second egg is laid a few days later followed possibly by a third.
The 35 days of incubation duties are shared by both male and female, but it is the female who spends most of her time on the nest. Trading places can be a tense time. The brooding parent may have to call for relief, or may be reluctant to leave and may have to be pushed off the eggs or young. During incubation, one parent is always on the nest, not only to keep the eggs warm but to protect them from squirrels, crows and snakes which will eat the eggs.
The eggs hatch in the order in which they were laid. Eaglets break through the shell by using their egg tooth, a pointed bump on the top of their beak. Once the eggs begin to hatch, the females vigilance becomes nearly constant. The male provides the bulk of the food needed by his rapidly growing family. Eventually the female will take up on her share of the hunting, but in the early days, all of her attention is given to the young eaglets in the nest. While on the nest with very young eaglets, parents move about with their talons balled into fists to avoid accidentally injuring their young.
Occasionally two chicks will survive, but it is not uncommon for the older eaglet to kill the smaller one, especially if the older one is a female, as females are consistently larger than males. Should one chick decide to kill its sibling, neither parent will make the slightest effort to stop the fratricide.
Eagles feed their young by shredding pieces of meat from their prey with their beaks. The female gently coaxes her tiny chick to take a morsel of meat from her beak. She will offer food again and again, eating rejected morsels herself, and then tearing off another piece for the eaglet.
The young birds grow rapidly, they add one pound of body weight every four to five days. At about two weeks, it is possible for them to hold their heads up for feeding.
By three weeks of age they are approximately 1 foot high and their feet and beaks are nearly adult size.
Between four and five weeks of age the birds are able to stand, at which time they begin tearing up their own food. And at six weeks, the eaglets are very nearly the size of their parents.
At eight weeks, the appetites of the young birds are at their greatest. While parents hunt almost continuously to feed them, back at the nest the eaglets are beginning to stretch their wings in response to gusts of wind and may even be lifted off their feet for short periods of time.
At 10 to 13 weeks the downy feathers of the eaglet is replaced with juvenile feathers during which the young eagles take their first flights. Approximately 40% of eagles do not survive their first flight.
Once the eagles have fledged (acquired the feathers necessary for flight), they remain around the nest for four to five weeks, taking short flights while their primary feathers grow and strengthen. Their parents still provide all of their food.
The young birds, with the exception of their color, resemble the parents, but are nothing like them in behavior. They have to learn how to hunt, and they only have the remainder of the summer to learn. After that, they are on their own. The first winter, therefore, is the most dangerous and difficult part on an eagle's life.
Higher predators are born with instincts that urge them to fly, to bite or to pounce, but precisely how to do these things is another matter. Through months of trial and error, eagles acquire the basic skills such as lighting on perches or swooping on prey through practice. Eagles practice with almost fully developed bodies, and so sharpen their skills quickly.
As bald eagles age, their eyes and beaks gradually turn yellow. The white hood and tail feathers grow sometime in the fourth year. During the first winter after fledging, juvenile eagles leave the nest area and do not return.