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Eaglet takes wing, is now a fledging

April 15, 2014
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It was only a matter of time before Ozzie and Harriett's lone living offspring this year fledged from the nest.

That happened on April 4 when E4, in his 100th day of life, made his first flight from the nest. Even though the landing was a little rough, it was still a momentous day for an eaglet that has certainly had quite a ride in its first three-plus months of life.

Michaelle Van Deventer, eagle specialist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, said even after the fledge, things haven't changed all that much for E4 or the parents.

"The eaglet will stay in that territory for a month or two because they're still fine-tuning their flying skills and, most importantly, learning how to hunt," Van Deventer said. "The parents will continue to supplementally feed him and teach him how to hunt."

Van Deventer said Ozzie and Harriet will likely stay in the territory until E4 can surely make it on its own, which in the past has traditionally been in mid-May. While E4 may hang around for a while, she said juvenile eagles are more migratory than older birds.

"They usually end up in the Chesapeake Bay area, but they have been found as north as Nova Scotia," Van Deventer said.

Van Deventer said the first year of life is always tough because they still have a lot of learning to do. Only about half of bald eagles survive their first year in the wild, after which about 90 percent survive each year, according to the American Eagle Foundation.

Born on Christmas Day, E4 was initially "bullied" by his older sister in the fight for food, which got the attention of many nature lovers who feared what might be an early demise for the smaller male.

The parents were doing little or nothing to stop the behavior, which experts said is not uncommon.

However, it was E3 who would succumb to illness, making little brother an only child and making things a little easier for the parents in their quest for food.

The fledging has meant an evolution of sorts for the Pritchett Eagle Cam, which has seen a bit of traffic for its second camera as it zooms in and out trying to locate the fledgling.

The original eagle cam has seen more than 25 million views, but the second camera has become more widely viewed as E4 started to branch and eventually fledge. As of Monday, it had more than 1.6 million views.

"A lot of people have enjoyed the perspective it gives because now that E4 isn't around the nest, it gives them an idea of where he is," said Andrew Pritchett. "It shows him flying around the nest, which has been helpful."

The surrounding area of the nest saw lots of traffic around the time of fledge, with great videos of the moment of flight, Pritchett said.

Perhaps the only complaint was the fact it happened a little later than expected.

"There's no set time frame. Because he was by himself, he had more food and space and maybe not the motivation to leave as others," Pritchett surmised.

As far as naming the eaglet, Pritchett said E4 will be the name in hope of to keeping people from getting too attached.

"There was controversy after E3 passed away. Instead of bringing more emotional attachment, we named him E4 to keep that down," Pritchett said.

View the eagle cam at: dickpritchettrealestate.com/eagle-feed.html

 
 

 

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