A Family Affair: Day Three, A Flying Lesson!
On my 3rd day out to see our local Bald Eagle Family, I showed up around the normal time, 2 hours before sunset, and was surprised to see only one of the adults at the nest. When I have shown up in the past during the middle of the day this is very common, one adult stays home and watches the babies and the other goes out hunting. However, every time I have been there this late in the day, the second adult usually is there or shows up within minutes of me being there, but today it would be a no show. As I hung out and waited, I witnessed one of the little ones perched on a branch with it's wings spread and every time a gust of wind would come you could see his excitement. His wings became wider as he perched his chest up towards the sky and even bouncing from time to time as if to say "I can do it."Tonight, would not be that night, but something even more amazing happened. Bald Eagles are large birds and only fly when necessary to conserve energy. I have seen both adults fly and on all occasions it was to position themselves to watch for predators, fly to the babies, or in one case catch more dinner. Today, I was in for a treat though as the adult watching the baby eagles decided to put on a little lesson. By far the longest flight I have seen by either of the adults, unfortunately it waited till right after sundown so I wasn't able to get a lot of pictures. But......After flying around the tree with the nest a few times, the adult flew up by the nest, unfortunately behind the tree, and actually hovered for a few seconds right by the little guy trying to flap his wings. I truly have never seen something this remarkable, it was clear the adult was showing the little ones how to fly and at least one of them was paying attention. Finally, on the way back to the perch the adult flew right by in front of me, and while I wasn't able to get quality photos this night I was able to document a very special life lesson.