30 June 2022
There was excitement on Sunday 26 June when both eaglets at the USS Irvin bald eagle nest fledged at the same time. The eaglecam showed that when the first bird fledged, it knocked its sibling off the branch. Fortunately the second bird could still be seen on the eaglecam.
By Monday “footage showed multiple failed attempts by the [second] eagle to fly” and expert opinion determined the bird was missing so many key flight feathers that it had to be rescued.
On Monday evening 27 June, a PGC Game Warden and USS employees teamed up to find and rescue the eaglet. See a photo of the rescued eagle and find out how the bird’s sibling helped in Mary Ann Thomas’ Trib Live article: Game warden, U.S. Steel employees rescue bald eagle; bird’s sibling helped rescuers find it.
The article mentions that the eaglet will be unable to fly until next year. That’s because the flight feathers of bald eagles grow on a prescribed schedule rather than immediately upon feather loss.
In their first year of life eaglets grow their original flight feathers while in the nest, then wait until the following year to molt into Basic 1 plumage. The molt begins in the spring of their second calendar year and finishes with the tail feathers in late July–early August. This eaglet will have to wait a year to make its first flight.
(logo from USS Irvin Eaglecam, footage of the Double Fledge embedded from Pix)