- Written by Dan Frankian
The male bald eagle hatched in Big Bear, a small city in Southern California, has finally fledged, or grown big enough feathers to fly, and is ready to soar.
Viewers who were watching the nest livestream, located in the Fawnskin area, could hear the young eagle cry and saw it fly out of view early Tuesday morning. Most bald eagles fledge between 10 and 12 weeks old, but at 14 weeks, this eagle took his time leaving the nest, the National Park Service said. No matter, this is good news as the survival rate of eaglets in their first year of life is less than 50%.
A bald eagle typically reaches maturity at five years. By then, it will have acquired the characteristic white head and tail, found a mate and established a breeding territory, the National Park Service said.
"Over the next few months, he will stay close to his parents," said Robin Eliason, a wildlife biologist for the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. "They will help feed him while he learns hunting skills. Eventually, he will disperse and likely leave the Big Bear area."
The proud parents laid two eggs in early March, and welcomed two eaglets in mid-April. One of the young eagles did not survive a late winter storm that occurred during Memorial Day Weekend.
The nest will be closed to the public through July 31 to allow the young eagle to mature and practice its flights without disturbance, according to the National Park Service. Oftentimes, eagles stick around their nest as they continue learning to fly and fend for themselves. During the summer, he might be found practicing his hunting skills around the lake.
Biologists will keep track of the young bird by looking out for a bald eagle with a purple leg-band, which is viewable through binoculars. The San Bernardino Mountains have the largest winter population of eagles in Southern California, where mountain lakes and streams offer prime hunting grounds. 10 to 20 eagles can be found in the region during a typical winter. Many migrate north in spring to nest.
Visit our Falconry Experience Page for information on how you can have a close encounter with a Bald Eagle, right here in Ontario.