We woke up to some terrible weather here. It’s cold (by Florida standards) and raining, but the wind is the worst. It’s blowing steadily at 20 to 30 mph with gusts over 45 mph. And conditions are unlikely to improve as the day goes on. I immediately went to check on the bald eagles. Surely the wind is even worse high in a tall tree.
Gabrielle has drenched and beat up feathers, but the wind isn’t even affecting her tucked into the giant nest. She’s still huddled over her babies. The second eaglet has made some progress in hatching, but one can only imagine he’s listening to the weather outside and thinking “Eh, maybe I’ll hang out in this comfy egg shell a while longer.” (Of course, the egg isn’t that comfy anymore. He has used up his source of nutrition and there’s fish outside.)
It’s business as usual at the nest though. One of the eagles caught an absolutely massive fish overnight, and there are fish segments scattered all around the nest. The eaglet that hatched a couple days ago evidently had a proper country breakfast.
It has been entertaining watching the eagles as new parents going through all the emotions that new human parents also go through. For a while, Gabrielle did not want to leave the eaglets with Samson. He had to prove himself, bringing fish and stopping by to check in on his family constantly. But she eventually took a sanity break and let him have a go at sheltering the little ones. Now they trade off like clockwork.
I’m just happy both eagles are around to participate in this. The first year we were here, it was Samson’s parents in the nest. (Samson hatched in the same nest several years ago.) His mother was injured and disappeared, and his father became a single dad. It was too much for one eagle to handle, to have to abandon the babies in the nest to go search for food so everyone could survive. Of the two eggs they had that year, one was not viable and the other hatched but the eaglet was taken by a predator. The father spent a long time trying to incubate the non-viable egg, but eventually he disappeared too. It was heartbreaking.
It takes 10 to 12 weeks for eaglets to fly from the nest after they hatch. It just occurred to me that this is going to carry the little family into hurricane season. Fortunately, most of the major storms do not come that early in the season.