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It’s finally here!
On Easter Sunday, a new eaglet was welcomed to the world. Grant and Glenda, two non-releasable Bald Eagles at the Dollywood Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, hatched their first egg, which was laid on March 4. The second egg, laid on March 7, is expected to hatch soon.
Over the past week, I found myself tuning in to watch the proud eagle parents daily, keeping them in the corner of my screen during my work day. And I have to admit, I’m not usually quite the avid-bird watcher, but self isolation has a weird way of changing your habits.
The Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is the largest exhibit of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the United States. The aviary hosts two Bald Eagle nesting pairs in separate enclosures as well as about a dozen other non-mated eagles, all cared for by the American Eagle Foundation (AEF).
The cohabitating eagles are in the “Pick-a-Mate” section – which is exactly what it sounds like – a home for the eligible bachelor and bachelorette eagles. Move over, Bachelor in Paradise.
The AEF keeps a live-streaming camera on these majestic birds of prey to give viewers a unique, up-close-and-personal view of their daily lives and habits.
Eaglets hatched at Eagle Mountain Sanctuary are transferred to AEF’s hacking tower on Douglas Lake at about 6-7 weeks of age. Hacking is a method used to simulate Eagle nesting. Hack site attendants observe the eagles until they are released at about 13-14 weeks of age. Whenever possible, the AEF honors a serviceman or woman from the military, family of a fallen hero, first responder, or a person whose service is worthy of such an honor at the release.
About Grant and Glenda
Grant was transferred to the American Eagle Foundation in July 2009. He was treated at the Wildlife Center of Virginia for a fractured bone and later developed problems with his wrist, which left him disabled. Grant also has an injury to his beak and is smaller than Glenda.
Glenda was found injured in Spokane, W.Va., in 2012. The AEF offered her a permanent home if she was deemed non-releasable. Against the odds, she recovered and was released, but was ultimately found again in 2013 unable to fly.
Here are some questions I found myself asking while watching the Bald Eagles this week, and I’m sharing them with you, you lucky you reader.
Are Bald Eagles monogamous?
Yes. Mostly. They often breed with the same partner season after season. But some studies suggest that philandering may be more common than previously speculated. In “The Mating Game,” Wayne Mones writes, “… many birds that we ‘know’ to be monogamous are like other animals (including humans) in that they frequently engage in extra-pair copulations as conditions allow.”
Do Bald Eagles ever find a new life mate?
According to the AEF, Bald Eagles only look for a new mate if their companion dies, but sometimes a new mate is chosen in a fight over a nest.
How long does it take for an egg to hatch?
According to the AEF, the eggs hatch after about 35 days of incubation.
How long do the young stay with their parents?
According to the AEF, about 4-12 weeks.
Tell me more about the nest!
I’m so glad you asked, even though you probably didn’t. Apparently, Bald Eagles return to the same nest year after year. The pair adds to the same structure, which then grows season after season. Bald Eagles actually hold the Guinness World Record for the largest bird nest. The nest is near St. Petersburg, Fla., and measures 9ft, 6in wide and 20 ft deep. It is estimated to weigh more than 2 tons.
The Bald Eagle Nest Cam is presented by the non-profit AEF. If you enjoyed watching the eagles as much as I did this week, you can donate to the organization here, where 100 percent of the donations will be utilized directly for streaming and operational costs. Visit their website for more information.
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