The Little Eaglet fighting to live – ND17 Little Bit!

30 May 2022

The real focus on this blog is this fantastic Little Eaglet. I cannot say enough good things about him. There are a couple of other news items at the end.

If any third hatch deserves to live – and thrive in the wild – it is Little Bit 17 at the ND-LEEF Bald Eagle nest. Oh, he reminds me of Tiny Tot Tumbles from the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg in 2021. That third hatch was starved and appeared stunted. Tiny Tot Tumbles lived on old pieces of fish she could find buried in the nest until one day in April (she hatched 5 March 2021) her Mum, Diane, brought in a catfish. At some point Diane realized that this third hatch just might be remarkable. So besides being creative and doing the snatch and grab, Tiny Tot persisted and Mum fed her. For all those that doubt Little Bit 17 can grow big and strong – I have lots of examples that say you will be wrong if Little Bit survives.

This afternoon Little Bit 17 really showed the stuff he is made of – he is brave and he is hard working. He is willing to eat the prey that no one else wants to survive. He has gotten smart except that he is hungry and he will be the ‘Snatch and Grab King’ when he can.

A prey item cam on the nest at 13:21:47. I could not make out if it was the squirrel or the raccoon – both road kill so mangled and mucked up.

Little Bit 17 was up next to 15 at the top rim of the nest. A perfect place to be.

Mum comes in with something and 15 moves back to peck at it. Little Bit stays up at the rim.

Mum checks and moves her head up to the rim to feed. Little Bit moves over. He is very afraid of Middle Bob – ND16 – who pecks at him all the time.

Mom feeds for about 4 minutes and then turns around where it is not so advantageous to Little Bit.

Despite 16 reaching over to peck a bit, Little Bit did the ‘Snatch and Grab’ for awhile and got a little more food. Right now he is pretty brave as he has opened himself up to get attacked by the big siblings.

One of them takes exception to Little Bit grabbing the prey and starts to mantle and flap. Little Bit gets over.

Then Mum turns sideways and Little Bit rushes to get to the side opposite the big siblings. You can just see his tail. He got some bites this way, too. Not many but some.

I wish that Mum would just stay in one place. It would be so much easier for Little Bit to eat with the big siblings on one side and it on the other. She seems antsy.

Little Bit is now doing the ‘snatch and grab’ again.

Mum is gone. She has left a part of the squirrel on the nest. Little Bit knows it is there.

Little Bit gets it. ND15 looks down and does nothing.

Little Bit gets hold of the prey item and pulls it and pulls it. It gets stuck but he keeps on eating and pulling. The big siblings are paying no mind. They are not going to work that hard for food so they can stay alive. Little bit 17 will though.

He pulls and tugs and tugs and pulls and just keeps on eating. He is eating skin and fur and every part of the raccoon. That is going to keep him alive. At the same time he is moving back away towards the porch where he might have a little stash of food or where he can continue eating away from the two siblings.

There he is pulling and pulling.

Where in the world did Little Bit find the squirrel? Goodness! He is pulling it back into his pantry too.

By 14:40 all evidence of the two prey items are gone and Little Bit is either saving them or eating in the back area of the nest known as the porch.

At the beginning of this Little Bit’s stomach would have had a little bit of food in it from Mum. Would he have a crop? Possibly if he ate the squirrel, too. He is quite hungry but the squirrel and the piece of raccoon will help. Did I say that Little Bit is brave, tenacious, creative, hard working, and willing to eat the crap food to survive? Well, he is. Send every positive wish his way – they are all working! Tears that he had something to eat.

In other news, the contest to name DC9 at the National Arboretum nest is over. DC9’s name is Takoda which means “Friend to All”.

For followers of the Dale Hollow nest, a parent flew to the nest yesterday with food and a juvenile chased them to the nest to get it. I do not know which one. The Dale Hollow camera only caught a small portion of the action which was posted on their FB page.

@DHEC

If you are a Glacier Gardens fan, a video of the first day of the eaglet’s life has been compiled. How nice!

It is hard to believe but we will be on fledge watch for L1 at the Red-tail Hawk nest starting on Friday! The following is a list of date ranges for the chicks to fledge based on historical data compiled by Cornell:

  • L1: 2-20 June
  • L2: 5-13 June
  • L3: 6-14 June
  • L4: 9-19 June

Big Red fed them all and also greenery is starting to come to the nest. While it is good to keep away insects, it is believed that Big Red and Arthur bring the oak leaves to get the kids to picture in their mind the tree where they should fly to on their fledge or first flight.

Big Red also sits on the fledge ledge to show them the best spot in which to take their first flight.

L2 and L3 watching a parent fly around the nest.

Cutie Pie L4 with a nice big crop. Hi Little One – and those silly humans thought that you wouldn’t survive. Just look at you.

L4 would like to figure out how to unzip that Chippie but he might need some help.

The bird that is standing to the right of L4 is L2. It has a white terminal band with a dark band and then the other bands are all muddy – no clear stripes on each.

Cutie Pie is trying.

L2 is really a gorgeous bird.

L2 and L3 looking at something on the ground.

After fledging the parents will provide prey while the fledglings learn how to hunt. In the past they have moved them farther and farther away from the nest at intervals teaching them to hunt in different ways at different places.

Just relieved that Little Bit 17 had something to eat. He worked hard for every morsel. Courageous and tough. Keep him in your most positive thoughts. Cal Falcons will be posting the short list of names for a quick vote. Go to their FB page after 6pm to see the choices.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: DHEC, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, NADC-AEF, and ND-LEEF.

1 Comment

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for the update on little bit 17 at No-Leef. I’m so thankful he got food and he ate! Prayers are being answered. The four little falcons are adorable as they grow up. So cute and colorful! Thanks for all the photos !
    Take care and hope to see you here soon!
    Linda

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