The timing is right.
The feeding behavior of the adults is unmistakable.
The conclusion: Bald eagle chicks have arrived!
Or, perhaps just one bald eagle chick. But either way, the news is good, as Debbie Beer of the Friends of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum reports:
It's a thrill to report the latest news from Heinz Refuge - Bald Eagle chick(s) have arrived! The "official status" is difficult to verify, as the nest is about 80 feet up a tree, and photographers need long lenses to capture even small pics from a distance. But several keen-eyed observers in the past week report that the eagles are showing behavior of feeding young. The timing is right, as it is believed the eagles laid egg(s) on January 29, then one or the other adult stayed on the nest non-stop for hours. Incubation requires 35 days, bringing us to the early days of March (give-or-take). Today, 3/12/2012, Adrian Binns observed head-bobbing action from one adult, while the other perched on a nearby tree. There's most likely a chick in the nest!
Recall that this is the third consecutive season that Bald Eagles have nested at Heinz Refuge. The first year, in 2010, the eagles used the so-called "lower" nest on Oak Island; one chick died and one fledged. Last year, 2011, the birds moved up to their higher nest, from which two juveniles successfully fledged in June.
The Friends of Heinz Refuge Facebook page is buzzing with photos and postings from birders, photographers and nature-lovers who are observing the eagles daily, and reporting their actions. Photographer Eric Mundy captured an amazing photo of an adult Bald Eagle flying with a duck in it's talons, and recounted watching the eagle take the prey from two hawks - all occured on 3/11/2012.
Bald Eagles inspire a level of wonder and engagement like little else. Keep fingers crossed for a successful Bald Eagle nesting season in 2012! If you're in the field leading Bird or Nature Walks, I encourage everyone to point-out to visitors the Bald Eagles on the nest, busily attending to and feeeding their offspring. Viewing locations are distant, but reasonable views can be had with a spotting scope.
If you have any photos or observations about our nesting Bald Eagles, please don't hesitate to post them on the Friends of Heinz Refuge Facebook page, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a "Bald Eagle Note" on the FoHR Facebook page, and we are keen to document details and dates of their breeding. And please share the great news with others who might be interested.
I look forward to sharing with everyone this wondrous experience of observing breeding Bald Eagles as the season unfolds, throughout the coming months. Wildlife is the inspiration, motivation and raison-d'etre for Heinz Refuge, for which we are all grateful.
Philadelphia has at least two active eagles' nests this year. No news just yet from the one at Pennypack Park.
The city's eagles renaissance began in 2007, when a nest was discovered at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It was believed to be the first nest within city limits in two centuries.
Unfortunately, someone else already had dibs on the site. Plans called for a $150 million regional produce market to be built in the vicinity, with more than a thousand trucks rumbling up every day.
The plans were put on hold. Much later, the eagles abandoned the nest.
And just weeks ago, a conservation settlement was announced so officials could dismantle the abandoned nest.