Jordan Lake. A study this morning in the process of molting in birds. To molt means the bird is changing out damaged and old feathers for a brand new set. All birds do this – in several different patterns. It just so happens that both the bald eagle (1st photo) and the Broad-winged hawk (2nd photo) do what is known as a sequential molt. They molt out the same section of flight feathers on each wing at the same time. Note that on both birds on each wing there are sets of feathers that are sticking out on the trailing edge with a matching set on the other wing. Not all birds do a sequential molt, it really depends upon the species. In this case it also helps me to know that the bald eagle is two-years-old. The Broad-winged hawk is an adult. The molt patterns do make them both look rather raggedy, doesn’t it! Oh and did you see the fish the eagle is carrying?

Jordan Lake Dam & Haw River: the riprap at the tailrace has become a traffic jam! There have been more than a dozen ospreys and 4-5 bald eagles all looking for fish. However, the bald eagle is a lazy hunter. In this case, an eagle, about 14 months old, had decided it wanted Mom osprey’s fish. The high speed chase lasted almost 2 minutes. The pursuit went from the dam to the south end of the riprap. Mom osprey dropped her fish at that point and the bald eagle went out over the playground and Mom osprey went looking for another fish in the riprap. This duel often happens where ever ospreys and bald eagles inhabit the same water ways. The photos also let you see the size difference between the two species.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: Sometimes, the 12-year-old heart of me just has to play with a photograph and find new ways to see bald eagles. Such as this 2-year-old bald eagle at the riprap this morning, in all the fog. I hope the changes let you see the concentration of the youngster as he aims for just the right branch for his landing.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: Remember the ruckus yesterday when the 3-year-old bald eagle knocked the 2-year-old eagle off the preferred branch? The 3-year-old got to spend 27 minutes on the favored branch. Then an adult bald eagle decided the branch was now its sole perch. Another tumble in the chilly wind!