Raptors usually get all the fluids their bodies need through the moist food they eat. But sometimes a good drink of water is needed. Did you know that most birds cannot swallow water like you or I or a cat or dog can? Nope, their anatomy allows them to lap the water into their beaks but they don’t have the ability to swallow the liquid like a horse would do. So, they lap up the water, tilt their heads skyward and let gravity take the liquid into their digestive tract. Watch the birds at your waterers at home and you will notice the same behavior that Captain Mom is showing us here. I made this series of photos on 03/18/2020.
I photographed this fledgling yesterday morning. I recognized that the eaglet was one of this year’s fledges … but I didn’t think it was from Jordan Lake as some of our chicks are about ready to fly, but haven’t yet. So I asked for input from one of the eagle experts I know and he suggested that perhaps it had explored it’s way here from Florida as the breeding cycle there is a couple of months ahead of here in NC. It is not unusual for bald eagles to cover more than 200 miles/day when they are out seeing the countryside!
I don’t know about you, but I needed to spend a moment or two watching freedom, strength, purpose and life. I went looking for a sequence. I photographed this almost 5-year-old bald eagle fishing within the riprap on January 12, 2020. Fly with her! Breathe with her!
I was trying to capture the light, just so, on a Texas toadflax blossom. The golden light was fading fast. Then a shadow appeared and I forgot about the wildflower for a couple of moments. The young eagle was just starting his second year of life and he was beautiful as the full brightness of a Carolina blue sky filled his sight and my morning.
Bald eagles are not usually sociable. They tolerate a mate and their chicks. Sometimes in winter, bald eagles will congregate around a food source, but argue about it. Once a chick has fledged, the parents will provide it some food and protection into the fall, but then the fledgling is on its own. I have watched, once or twice a year, an eaglet (starting its first or second year of life) make a trip back to its home nest and be briefly tolerated by the parents. On March 26, 2020, I finally got to record one of these encounters. Kate and one of her chicks are visited by the 2019 male fledgling from First Nest. Eventually Petruchio took exception to the visitor and chased it away. I sure am glad I could show you this uncommon bald eagle event!