“The Story Begins”
The female Bald Eagle at the Norfolk Botanical Garden laid her first egg of the season at approximately 4:15 pm on January 31st!
Eagles will typically lay from 1-3 eggs in a nest with 2 occurring most commonly. This pair laid three eggs last year and successfully fledged all three of the young. Hopefully we'll watch another successful year unfold.
The female usually lays one egg per day (although not necessarily on successive days). She'll begin to incubate the eggs as soon as the first is laid. Because of this the young will hatch at different times; with the eggs hatching in the order they were laid. During difficult years, the first hatchling will receive the bulk of the food and be most likely to survive.
Both parents will incubate the eggs, although the female does the bulk of this work. Adult eagles (and many other birds) have "brood patches" to help them keep eggs warm. These patches are areas of the belly without feathers. These bare patches allow the warm skin of the adult to be in direct contact with the eggs, helping to transfer body heat. The eggs will be incubated for about 35 days, at which point the first of the young will hatch.
The Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries, in partnership with the Norfolk Botanical Garden is proud to offer this glimpse into the family life of our national symbol. We look forward to watching these magnificent birds through this amazing journey.