Bald Eagle Tales

The story of a successful and happy Bald Eagle Family in San Diego County. 

Text and photos © KS Nature Photography / Krisztina Scheeff

 

Nesting Bald Eagles are a rare sight in San Diego County. In 2016 there was no reported Bald Eagle nesting in San Diego (US Fish and Wildlife). Since 2018 I have been documenting this young pair in San Diego and I was thrilled to see that in early 2019 they were checking out a nest. Having a nesting pair so close to my home, it made it possible to observe and document the journey of this very successful pair for over two years now. I would make 2-3 trips a week to view them from a very safe and ethical distance (over 330 feet), with a long telephoto lens. Most of the shots are also a heavy crop, so please excuse the quality. I never stayed longer than 10-20 minutes and the Eagles would go about their business as usual. Using my car as a blind and putting a landscape buffer between my self and the Eagles proved to be ideal. Following U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidlines for Bald Eagle management was always the priority.

 

On May 25th, 2020 both chicks have fledged, so now I can share with you this very exciting addition to the Bald Eagle population in San Diego County. So let's start at the begining:

 

In early 2019 the male Eagle was courting a young  blue tagged female, and later that year a new female came in. She had a tag also and checking with the USGS I found out that she was born and tagged in 2015 on the Channel Islands, at Seal Rocks.

Photo from 1-24-2019.

 

The new couple has taken over an existing nest and while they were very interested in sitting on the nest, there were no chicks in 2019. The nest was likely an old Red-tailed Hawk nest and the couple stayed busy adding to the nest slowly and doubling it in size by fall 2019. In this shot the male is in front, female in the back.

Early 2020 I noticed that both Eagles made regular trips to the nest, and around January one Eagle would always stick around the nest. I crossed all my fingers and toes. I knew at least they got eggs! Since I was traveling early March, it was March 16th, 2020 when I first spotted the chicks, and at this point I think they were about 3 weeks old, putting their birth sometime end of February /early March 2020. Photos from March 16 and March 18, 2020:

So here is the Happy Family, Mom, Dad and the two chicks on March 30, 2020.

 

 

For the next two months both parents did an amazing job bringing in all kinds of goodies, protecting the chicks and watching over them. Here are just a few action shots.

 

The chicks grew very fast. They were fed fish, rodents, more fish and some birds too. Early May they started to stretch those wings, jump up and down the nest, and by May 20, 2020 they were both getting very eager to leave the nest.

 

 

WE HAVE LIFT-OFF!!!  May 23-25, 2020

And the day has arrived - one of the chicks ventured out on May 23, 2020 while the other was still watching him/her from the nest. On May 25th, early morning, both Bald Eagle youngsters were flying around and about, hanging out in their favorite new spot. Happy Day!

And look at the SIZE of the 3 month old Juvenile Bald Eagle. WOW!

 

The happy Family on May 27, 2020. Dad flew in with dinner and they are just having a casual dinner conversation :-). The juveniles were very noisy and excited, Mom must be tired.

 

I will continue to document the journey of the two young Bald Eagles, so please check back to see new photos and stories.

 

Update June 2 2020:

Both Juveniles are doing very well! They are venturing further and further out, of course come back to nest for dinner. Here is a flying shot of one of the young ones.

 

 

And here are a few photos of both adults, they are sure a great couple and parents :-).

The male is about 5 years old (last year he still had a few brown feathers on the face) and she is 5 years old (tagged). Enjoy!

 

 

Please note: All text and photos are copyrighted to KS Nature Photography / Krisztina Scheeff. You are welcome to share the URL, however re-production of text or photos are not permitted. If you would like to feature this story in a paper, study, or news channel, please contact me and I would be happy to provide you with details, photos, text etc. Thanks! 

 

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