FEB 5: Excitement at the nest

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FEB 5: Excitement at the nest

Phil and I arrived at the nest at about 9:15 AM on February 5th. The female (Jewel) was roosting on the right nest support branch over the next 3/4 hour we occasionally caught sight of one eaglet. A day earlier we had seen two eaglets, the first hatched being the 21st offspring from this nest. The first eaglet from this nest fledged in 2008. Usually (about 3:1) the first eaglet is a female. We will call her P Piney 21. Loose branches on the nest rim made it difficult to focus on the eaglet, so my photos are not very sharp.

At about 10:15 Phil had to leave, but said he was sure that there would be some action as soon as he was gone. We laughed and I decided to keep looking. After only a few minutes, at 10:18 AM, just as I was ready to depart, Jewel suddenly seemed agitated and kept looking up to the right (west).

I am sure she heard something, although it was a few seconds before I heard the screams of her mate (Pride) and the calls of another bird which briefly roosted above the nest. Pride, still exchanging loud calls with the intruder, also seemed to have landed out of sight behind the nest. I thought it might have been another eagle, but its calls were different. I saw that it was an Osprey! Jewel immediately flew down and covered the nest as Pride flew off out of sight back to the west, either pursuing or being followed by the Osprey. Seven minutes later, at 10:25 AM,  Pride landed from the right of the nest with a prey item which I could not identify but am almost certain it was a fish that he stole from the Osprey, which was now nowhere to be seen or heard.

Jewel then flew off to roost, as Pride occupied the nest and began to tear at the prey as the eaglet watched intently:

Finally, Pride tore off a morsel for the eaglet...

...which she accepted eagerly:

Feeding was still going on when I left at 10:40. It is possible that the smaller eaglet was hiding and waiting its turn to be fed-- let's hope so. Phil was right, as he missed the action by only about three minutes!