Late Saturday and early Sunday in Bird World

06 march 2022

There were several conflicting weather forecasts for the area that included the nest of Bald Eagles Jackie and Shadow. Along with thousands of others, I was hoping that the forecast that said the snow and wind would taper off between 18:00-19:00 was correct – and not the one that said 22:00.

Around 18:00, you could see the lake. Relief.

Shadow comes to the nest around 18:06. Jackie gets up. The baby is fed a wee bit and Shadow eats some of the fish.

What is so special is the look on the eyes of these two parents. It is like they still cannot believe, after trying so hard for two years, that they have a wee baby in that nest. It is more than adorable.

You can see the indentation where Jackie kept the baby and the egg warm.

By 19:00 lights could be seen in the distance.

The forecast is so much better. Jackie and the Baby had a good night. Did you know that Bald Eagles are known to lower their body temperatures by 1.5 degrees F. This saves calories in keeping warm so they do not require as much prey or to go hunting in very extreme weather. Because Bald Eagles are such large birds their sheer mass also helps them retain heat. Jackie and Shadow’s brood patch – skin to egg and/or chick – between the breast plates – keeps the chick and eggs at optimum temperature. Not moving also retains energy along with their 7000 plus feathers to keep them warm. Jackie can tuck her legs and feet up under her to keep them warm. She can also do the same with fish – keeping a piece from freezing solid under her tail.

Jackie fed the chick at 05:51. All appears to be just fine on the Big Bear Valley nest as the sun rises over the lake.

Shadow is going to bring in another big fish and he will feed the chick at 07:57.

According to the moderator on the chat, the only muscle that has developed in the chicks is the hatching muscle at the back of the neck.

Shadow really enjoyed brooding his little one and feeding it. Jackie will come in and take over and feed the chick again at 09:06.

There has been no indication by anyone at Big Bear Valley that there is a pip in the second egg. At times it certainly appears like there could be but it could easily be just a speck of dirt or nesting material.

The weather couldn’t be more different – from the high mountains in California to a Florida island in the Gulf of Mexico. Lena has to work hard to keep the shade on her growing family.

Andy brought in a fish at 08:06:31. By the time Lena finished feeding the three, they all had big crops!

Little Bob often does a duck and cover when Andy lands. Several times Andy has landed on it! Little Bob was, fortunately, fine. That looks like a nice breakfast fish, Andy!

Little Bob is right where we expect him to be — right by Lena’s beak.

Everyone had a big crop and Mum, Lena, took off for a short but much needed break.

The plumage is such good camouflage now that it is often hard to find the chicks within the twigs of the nest. I wonder at what point these chicks are too large for the crows to predate? Must find out.

The three are so big now that it is hard to cover them and keep them cool.

There is sad news coming out of the Redding Bald Eagle nest of Liberty and Guardian. Yesterday afternoon one of the three eggs broke.

The other two eggs at Redding appear to be fine.

Guardian is doing a great job of incubating the eggs this morning. Quite handsome he is!

The two eaglets at the nest of Abby and Blazer in Eagle Country have grown! My goodness. Both are doing really well. They are losing their baby down and getting that nice thermal layer that will keep them ever so warm in the future.

Oh, that image below is so serene and peaceful – th golden glow of the morning filtering in as the wee ones are fed.

I have been ignoring Dale Hollow because of the hatch at Big Bear. It is hard to believe but chick 1 will be three days old at Big Bear. It made me realize that the trio at Dale Hollow will, in a blink, be as big as the eaglets at Eagle Country. Best check on them and see how they are.

It looks like Obey has been fishing on a Sunday morning. There are at last three new fish on the nest.

I love the image below because of the little one. This baby is so cute. Chubby little bottom and tail and those precious wings.

Sleeping with the fishes. Is River wondering if any of the wee babes are going to try and take bites out of the fish this early????

The three are lined up with the oldest on the left and the youngest on the right. That wee little one survived the twins. Thank goodness.

Jackie wasn’t the only Eagle Mum that had to contend with snow last night. Nancy at the MN DNR nest was buried in the white stuff, too.

Last year Nancy and her four year old mate, Harry, fledged two beautiful eagles.

It certainly is a beautiful area for a nest!

I have not paid as much attention to this Minnesota nest amongst all the others. It is difficult to keep up with all of them. This is a good nest to watch. Just ignore the call for donations. The DNR makes way too much money on selling hunting licenses!!!!!!!

Looks like it is time for a switch in incubation duties. Last year it was easy to tell who was who because Harry did not have his pure white head yet. This year he is five and a fully fledged adult eagle.

Here is the link to Harry and Nancy’s camera:

I am going to close with a return to the nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear. It is 10:15. Shadow has brought in another catfish with its head on it. Both him and Jackie stand and marvel at their wee babe. You can just feel the joy coming off of their feathers. The camera zooms in to check on the other egg.

It is hard to say if anything is happening in that second egg. Honestly, if it doesn’t hatch, all is fine. This nest has, historically, had problems with storms when chicks are about six weeks old. It is too difficult for the female to get them under to brood and keep warm and, several times, one has perished. In 2018, Jackie lost one of her chicks, BBB, to a storm and freezing rain and another, Cooky, in 2019. Both died of exposure with the other eaglet surviving.

So I am fine if this is an only chick. It is sad to raise the babies for six weeks and then lose one.

I once asked why certain nests are popular and others not so much. There could be a huge number of reasons including as ‘B’ suggested YouTube and FB nuances. Still, there is something very special about this couple at Big Bear. Is it Shadow’s utter devotion and his antics with sticks? is it Jackie’s unrelenting need to incubate and brood 24/7? is it the conversations between them? or the joy and satisfaction looking down at their baby? I am not sure but what I do know is I can hardly take my eyes off this nest — in the same way that I could hardly keep away from the Port Lincoln Osprey nest with our dear Ervie.

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is blue skies, sun, and melting snow on the Canadian Prairies and I am way late in getting out to feed my birds. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: Friends of Big Bear Valley, Eagle Country, Redding Bald Eagles, Dale Hollow Bald Eagles, MN DNR Bald Eagles, Captiva Osprey and Window on Wildlife.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks so much Mary Ann for these wonderful updates! Happy Sunday to you! So glad the little one at Big Bear is doing good. Glad the snow has stopped and hopefully it will warm up some for them. It adorablešŸ£
    Bless the Mom eagle at MN DNR nest. I think these eagles may be new from the ones that use to be there that I watched. Good luck to them. Last season was a good one for them. There are so many nests Mary Ann and I havenā€™t even heard from my Finland and other European nests that I usually follow. Most are ospreys. It may be early for them yet.
    Have a great Sunday afternoon!

    1. You are right, Linda. The couple at MN DNR are new as of last year. Or at least the male was. He was just four and no one believed the eggs would be fertilized but they were. Two super little ones. That young man didn’t know what he had gotten himself into! They fledged and were very nice to watch. It is certainly beautiful country where that nest is! I hope you had a lovely day today, Linda. Take care.

Leave a Reply