Support
Subscribe
Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.

DONATE

You are here

Bald Eagles Fledge

Striking out on their own

When young Bald Eagles fledge, the event is the culmination of nearly a year’s work by the parents. Let’s recap how it might have gone: male and female build a nest over the winter. By March, they have two eggs. The female incubates the eggs for about a month, with the male taking an occasional turn. The result? A couple of tiny, three-ounce chicks. At eight weeks, they’re as heavy as the adults — 10 to 14 pounds. Two weeks later, they make their first flights. But it will take another 10 weeks of practice flights and provisioning by the adults before the young birds are ready to strike out on their own. 

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Bald Eagles Fledge

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Bald Eagle call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/137879, 0.18-.21] 

In late summer, a young Bald Eagle leaves the nest and sets out on its own for the first time. It’s the culmination of nearly a year’s work by the parents.

Let’s recap how it might have gone: male and female meet up in late fall, build a new nest or add sticks to their old one over the winter - and by March, usually have two eggs. The female incubates for a month-and-a-bit, with the male taking an occasional turn. The result? A couple of tiny, three-ounce chicks.  

The adults then take to hunting fish and other prey, tearing it into bite-sized chunks for the growing youngsters – which gain a pound in weight every four or five days.  

At eight weeks, they’re all brown and as heavy as the adults – 10 to 14 pounds. 

Two weeks later, they make their first short, clumsy flights. But it’ll take another 10 weeks of practice flights and provisioning by the adults before the young birds are ready to strike out on their own. 

And when they do, they strike out in grand fashion, wandering over the continent for perhaps thousands of miles, until four years after hatching, they have their full adult plumage. Only then might they seek a mate and build their own nest. [Bald Eagle call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/137879, 0.18-.21] 

For BirdNote I’m Mary McCann.

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Bald Eagle call [137879] recorded by Gerrit Vyn
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org   August 2015   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID #: BAEA-07-2015-08-04 BAEA-07

Sources include BNA Online, plus:

http://www.flagislandwebcam.com/eaglefacts.htm

http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle4.html

http://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_5/NWRS/Central_Zone/Montezuma/Ea...

Sights & Sounds

Related topics:

Related field notes:

Home
Shows
Galleries
More