Apr 12 2014

Holding His Own

Published by at 7:20 am under Birds of Prey,Nesting & Courtship

Three healthy eaglets at Pittsburgh Hays bald eagle nest, 11 April 2014 (phot ofrom the Pittsburgh Hays eaglecam)

If you've been worried about the survival of Eaglet#3 at the Pittsburgh Hays bald eagle nest, you can ease your fears a bit.  Today the eaglets are 15, 13 and 10 days old.

On April 3 I described how competition among bald eagle siblings can cause the smallest eaglet to starve if food is scarce.   The good news is that the older they get, the better their chances for survival.

So far so good.  Eaglet #3 is active and growing and he's getting fed.  Food is abundant. He's holding his own.

The food supply is one more indication that Pittsburgh is a great place to raise a family.  But we knew that.  🙂


(snapshot from the Pittsburgh Hays eaglecam.  Click on the image to watch the live stream)

Update:  Hmmmm. At 9:25am the three eaglets were very hungry and there was nothing to eat yet.  Eaglet#1 took a whack at Eaglet#3 who crouched with his face down to avoid attention.   Hmmmm. We shall see...

Eaglet#3 crouches to avoid another hit from Eaglet#1 (snapshot from the Pittsburgh Hays eaglecam)

17 responses so far

17 Responses to “Holding His Own”

  1. carol kyrimeson 12 Apr 2014 at 8:32 am

    Thanks so much Kate. Have been concerned about his possible demise. As an inner city Pittsburgh kid of the 40s and fifties I’m so happy to see how our city has cleaned up so well. I watch and visit them often from Washington pa. Thank you for your part in making this possible.

  2. Pam Packon 12 Apr 2014 at 8:51 am

    I have been rooting for #3 ever since you mentioned the possibility of his demise. Of course, if I had thought about it for a minute, what with the sequential hatching and all, I would have realized what his prospects were even before your post. It occurred to me that “survival of the fittest” didn’t seem quite accurate in describing what is happening there. My reasoning: #3 very well could have been born the “fittest”, but failed to survive due to his “birth” order, and the head start that the first two eaglets had. Anyway, I’m glad he’s thriving, and I continue to root for them all. Thanks for keeping us posted.

  3. Joyceon 12 Apr 2014 at 10:43 am

    Kate, I appreciate how you previously explained the difference between the peregrine and eagle chicks survival. Do you know how Osprey parents approach survival?

  4. Kate St. Johnon 13 Apr 2014 at 6:02 am

    Joyce, osprey eggs hatch asynchronously the same as bald eagle eggs. Osprey studies have calculated the survival rate of 3rd osprey chicks = 38%. I haven’t found that statistic for eagle chicks… yet.

  5. The Wild Sowon 12 Apr 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Eagles seem to take the concept of An Heir and a Spare (or 2) literally.

    Joyce, there’s an Osprey nest in Aliquippa (originally misidentified as a new Bald Eagle nest) — it’s the one on the electrical tower. I hope to get over there to see it next week.

  6. robinon 12 Apr 2014 at 2:53 pm

    yes Kate, I agree with you, much thanks for posting:)

  7. Carolynon 12 Apr 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Speaking of Ospreys, the pair on the PA Game Commission cam, found on the WildEarth website, have been busy at the nest today; says to expect eggs there soon!

    I too noticed the oldest eaglet nipping both siblings, and both exhibited the duck-and-cover response, even the formidable “middle child”. At first, I thought they were injured, but it seems to be a decent defense mechanism, and they pop back up when the big bruiser loses interest…at least, as Kate said, for now!

  8. Helenon 13 Apr 2014 at 4:17 pm

    When #3 first hatched mom fed it very little. Dad would coax it to the back of the nest and feed it alone. Dad always makes sure #3 has something to eat. #3 rushes to dad when he visits. I cant get enough of watching them.

  9. LuAnnon 14 Apr 2014 at 11:03 am

    Today #3 looks way smaller than #2 and #1, I have watched a few feedings where it was offered food and didn’t take it. Kate do you think it is getter too far behind from the others?

  10. Kate St. Johnon 14 Apr 2014 at 11:08 am

    LuAnn, if he falls far behind he will not survive. I’m hoping for the best … but beginning to expect the worst.

  11. Sueon 17 Apr 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Just watched mom feed #3 a big meal. 🙂 Kate, when will the babies start picking at the food themselves?

  12. Kate St. Johnon 17 Apr 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Sue, according to Birds of North America Online the eaglets will be full-size though not fully feathered at 3-4 weeks old. At that age they are able to peck at food but not able to tear off food and feed themselves until 6 weeks old.

  13. LuAnnon 23 Apr 2014 at 10:19 am

    Kate at what point if ever will we be able to determine that all 3 eaglets are going to make it? Although #3 looks small still he/she is still hanging in there. I have noticed at times when alone in the nest the bigger one still picks or should I say pecks on the other 2.

  14. Kate St. Johnon 23 Apr 2014 at 10:52 am

    LuAnn, I have read that 3rd eaglets have died at 4 weeks old in nests that don’t have as much food as this one. In this case there’s a lot of food and #3’s chances are good to excellent. It may be that he is male & therefore naturally smaller than his sisters & will never fully catch up, but he is feisty. Every day is better than the day before.

  15. LuAnnon 23 Apr 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Good to know, thanks Kate!

  16. Sueon 28 Apr 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I’ve noticed #3 has been actually going after the food in Mom’s mouth when she feeds them. Today, he just helped himself as soon as she tore the flesh from the fish. He doesn’t give the others a chance, especially if they have already been fed a while before he has. Mom and Dad are both such good providers.

  17. Kate St. Johnon 28 Apr 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Sue, I agree he is feisty. He’ll go far!

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