VDGIF/Norfolk Botanical Garden Eagle Cam: Am I Flying Yet?

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, in partnership with the Norfolk Botanical Garden and WVEC, is providing a rare glimpse into the life of two bald eagles and their offspring!

Monday, May 21, 2007

“Am I Flying Yet?”

The Eaglets at the Norfolk Botanical Garden continue to grow. The three young eagles have replaced their downy feathers with their brown juvenile plumage, including their flight feathers. These eaglets won’t attain the emblematic white head and tail of an adult eagle until they are 4 or 5 years old. Feather development won't be complete until after they fledge and the eaglets may actually continue to gain weight.

The eaglets are much more active in the nest now, and have begun to test their wings, catching breezes and getting the feel for what flying will be like. Watching the nest this morning the eaglets practiced in turn, taking advantage of a breezy day. At times the eaglets glided several feet over the nest. They’ll begin to make short hopping glides to adjacent branches, gaining coordination and strength in their flight muscles. Sometime around Memorial Day we expect that these eaglets will start fledging. They’ll stay in the vicinity for a few weeks and may often return to the nest. The immature birds will follow their parents – who may continue to be fed by them. Young eagles learn to hunt on their own, and will subsist largely on scavenged fish until they gain the skills necessary to catch live prey.