Hershey and Godiva are one of the mated pairs of bald eagles at Jordan Lake. This morning, while Hurricane Dorian was still off SC and we were just starting to get some good gusts, Godiva called out to Hershey, challenging him to a chase in the strengthening wind. By the way, Hershey is the light brown eagle (he is named after the chocolate bar) and Godiva is the normal dark brown of a bald eagle.
Mom Godiva had been lurking on a high perch when she jumped and streaked to just above water level.
Her direction was taking her straight down the shore line.
I heard a great blue heron give its grumpy annoyed don’t-you-dare-disturb-me yell.
Floating behind the heron was a dead fish.
I realized that the eagle’s flight path was straight for the heron. Both birds wanted the fish.
I wondered if a collision was eminent.
But, no. Godiva lifted up over the heron, glanced down at the fish and kept moving past.
I continued to track Godiva and when I looked back to the heron, it had flown almost out of sight, fish dangling from its beak.
I found Godiva sitting to the far left. One chick on the rim of the nest. One chick to the far right on a branch.
Mom Godiva flew out and I tracked her only to realize that one of the chicks had flown too!!!
I don’t know if the chick had fledged yesterday or today, but I am happy for the new flier.
The fledgling flew, circled, got tired and even though about 500 feet from the nest, dropped his feet for landing.
All fledglings make controlled crashes for landings. This fledgling almost forgot to put on the brakes!
He was still going full speed when he disappeared from sight behind the main trunk.
Dad Hershey had walked out on a big branch to the right of the nest to check on one of the chicks.
I heard an angry alert call from both Hershey and Godiva (unseen).
A two-year-old bald eagle was headed toward the nest.
Juvenile eagles will try to steal chicks from eagle nests and Hershey and Godiva knew this.
Hershey launched and the two-year-old eagle quickly saw it was in trouble and it turned and fled the cove.
Hershey returned to a tree near the nest and the two chicks went back to branching.
Mom Godiva showed up and took over guard duties while the two chicks watched the world.
Hint: to find branching chicks, look for their feet first then look for the beak!
I visited First Nest today and found Petruchio preening on a limb near the nest.
Having finished getting all his feathers clean and straight, he gave me a hello flight and soared closely over my head.
I thought I would show you the nest … from where I stand to watch the home of Hershey and Godiva!
Can you find the nest?
And, then show you a crop of the same photo and you can see Godiva perched in front of her nest. She hasn’t laid her eggs yet.