Baby eagles, or eaglets, are the young of the eagle family, specifically those of the genus Haliaeetus, which includes the bald eagle and the golden eagle.
They are born extremely helpless and are covered in downy white feathers. They are born in a nest often built high in trees or on cliffs.
The female eagles typically lay 2-3 eggs each season, and the eggs are incubated for about 35 days before hatching. Once hatched, both parents care for the eaglets, bringing them food and keeping them warm.
As they grow, eaglets start to develop their flight feathers and gain strength in their wings. This process typically begins when the eaglets are around 10 weeks old, and they begin to leave the nest, a process called fledging.
Once fledged, they will continue to rely on their parents for food and guidance for several months before they are fully independent. Eaglets can be identified by their distinct white feathers and yellow beak.
What Is A Baby Eagle?
- They are born blind and helpless and are dependent on their parents for food and protection.
- When eaglets hatch, they are typically around 20-35 cm (8-14 inches) in length and weigh around 120-150 grams (4-5 ounces).
- As they mature, eaglets will develop the distinctive features of adult eagles, such as a white head and tail, a dark brown body, a yellow beak and talons, and yellow eyes.
- They are vulnerable to predation by other birds of prey, mammals, domestic animals, and human activities.
- Parents protect the eaglets through aggression, camouflage, stealth, and vocalizations.
- Some eaglets fledge (leave the nest) at around 10-12 weeks, but others may stay in the nest for up to 16 weeks.
What Are Baby Eagles Called?
Eaglets are the term used to refer to baby eagles, similar to how chicks are used to refer to baby chickens or cubs are used to refer to baby bears.
What Do Baby Eagles Look Like?
Eaglets are born with white downy feathers and have a fluffy appearance.
Their eyes are closed and they are unable to move around very much. They are born blind and helpless and are dependent on their parents for food and protection.
When eaglets hatch, they are typically around 20-35 cm (8-14 inches) in length and weigh around 120-150 grams (4-5 ounces). They are usually the same size as their parents’ bill or slightly smaller.
As they grow, they will rapidly gain weight and their downy feathers will be replaced by juvenile feathers.
As they mature, eaglets will develop the distinctive features of adult eagles. They will have a white head and tail, a dark brown body, and a yellow beak and talons. Their eyes will also change color from blue to yellow.
It’s worth noting that there are variations in size and color among different species of eagles, for example, bald eagles are larger than golden eagles, and the color of their feathers also varies.
When Do Baby Eagles Leave The Nest?
Eaglets typically leave the nest, or fledge, between 10 and 14 weeks of age, depending on the species of eagle. This process typically begins when the eaglets are large enough and strong enough to fly.
The exact timing can vary depending on factors such as the availability of food, weather conditions, and the experience of the parents.
Once the eaglets fledge, they will continue to rely on their parents for food and guidance for several months before they are fully independent.
Eaglets have a carnivorous diet that is mostly composed of animal protein.
Their diet is primarily composed of fish and small mammals such as voles and squirrels fed to them by their parents, but as they grow, they may also be fed larger prey, such as rabbits and raccoons.
The parents usually alternate hunting trips to make sure that the eaglets are fed regularly, they bring the food to the nest and the eaglets are fed by the adult’s bill through a process called regurgitation.
The eaglets will beg for food by making loud calls and flapping their wings. As the eaglets grow, they will start to eat whole prey instead of being fed by regurgitation.
The diet of eaglets will change as they mature, and they will eventually start to hunt and catch their own food.
It is important to note that the diet of eaglets may vary depending on the species of eagle, and the availability of food in the area. For example, some species of eagles may eat more fish while others eat more mammals.
The bald eagles, for example, are opportunistic feeders, they will eat a variety of prey, including fish, birds, mammals, and reptiles, depending on what is available in their territory.
They obtain water from the food they eat and from any bodies of water they can find near their nest. They also can obtain water from the snow and ice.
For example, eaglets may drink from streams, rivers, or other bodies of water near their nest, or they may consume water that is present in the flesh of the fish or other prey that their parents bring them.
Their parents will also bring them water in the form of snow or ice if it is available.
Sounds They Make
Eaglets make a variety of sounds as they communicate with their parents and siblings.
They make high-pitched chirping and peeping sounds, which can be heard from a distance. These sounds are used to signal to their parents that they are hungry or need attention.
Additionally, eaglets may make begging calls, which are louder, more insistent calls that are used to signal their need for food.
As eaglets grow older, they may make more vocalizations, including hissing, growling, and even screeching sounds.
Can Baby Eagles Kill Their Siblings?
It is not uncommon for eaglets, to engage in sibling rivalry, which can sometimes result in the death of one or more eaglets.
This behavior is known as “siblicide” and is observed in many bird species, including eagles, where the chicks will compete for food and space within the nest.
The stronger chick will dominate the weaker ones and may push them out of the nest or in some cases kill them.
This behavior is thought to be an adaptation that increases the chances of survival for the strongest chick, ensuring that the parents’ resources are not spread too thin.
However, this is not the case for all eagles and some eaglets can grow up without any harm from their siblings.
Eaglets fall prey to a variety of predators.
Some common predators of eaglets include other birds of prey, such as great horned owls and golden eagles, as well as mammals such as raccoons and bears.
In addition, eaglets can be at risk of predation by domestic animals, such as domestic dogs and cats.
However, eagles have several ways to protect their young. One method is through the use of their large size and powerful talons, which they use to defend their nest and eaglets from potential predators.
Adult eagles will also aggressively defend their territory and will chase away any perceived threats. Eagles also use camouflage to protect their young.
The nests are built in tall trees or on cliffs, which makes it hard for predators to spot them. The eaglets themselves are also well-camouflaged with white downy feathers that blend in with the nest.
The adult eagles take turns hunting and guarding the nest. The hunting adult will be very careful while hunting and not reveal the location of the nest to potential predators.
Additionally, eagles also use vocalizations to protect their young. They will make loud calls and screeches to warn off potential predators and to communicate with their mates to coordinate the protection of the nest.
Where Are Baby Eagles Found?
Eaglets are typically found in the nest where they were born.
Eagles build their nests, known as aeries, in tall trees or on cliffs, often in remote areas. The nests can be quite large, measuring up to 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep.
Eagles typically lay one to three eggs per clutch, and both the male and female will take turns incubating them for about 35 days before they hatch.
Once the eaglets hatch, the parents will care for and feed them until they are old enough to fledge, or leave the nest, which typically occurs when they are around 10 weeks old.
Hunting and Survival
Eaglets do not hunt until they are able to fly and have developed the skills and strength to catch their own prey.
During the first few weeks of their life, eaglets are fed by their parents with food that their parents have caught. As they grow older, eaglets will begin to practice hunting by catching small prey such as insects and small rodents.
As they continue to grow and develop, they will start to hunt larger prey items, such as fish and small mammals, under the guidance and supervision of their parents.
Once they are fully fledged and independent, they will be able to hunt on their own and take care of themselves.
Many eagles breed in conditions where there might be snow while the eaglets are still in the nest. They have therefore developed several adaptations that help them survive in cold, snowy conditions.
Eaglets are covered in downy feathers that provide insulation to help keep them warm. As they grow, they will develop adult feathers, which will provide even better insulation.
They also have a high metabolism that allows them to generate a lot of body heat, which helps them to stay warm.
Aside from this, eaglets are fed by their parents with food that is high in fat, which provides them with extra energy to help them maintain their body heat in cold conditions.
Additionally, eagle parents will often sit on their eaglets to keep them warm and protect them from the cold and snow.
Do Eagles Drop Their Babies?
Eagles do not intentionally drop their babies.
Eagles are known for their strong parental instincts and will fiercely protect their young. They will build their nests high up in trees or on cliffs to keep their babies safe from predators.
However, if an eagle’s nest is disturbed or destroyed, the eaglets may fall out of the nest and become vulnerable to predation.
Eagles typically reuse their nests, also known as aeries.
Eagles are known to be very loyal to their nest sites, and will often return to the same nest year after year to breed and raise their young. They may add new materials to the nest each year or repair damage from the previous nesting season.
Some eagle nests can be used for many years and can become quite large over time.
Eagles will defend their nests fiercely, and will not tolerate other birds or animals encroaching on their territory.
This territorial behavior, combined with the fact that eagles often return to the same nest year after year, can lead to the formation of large, multi-generational nests that are used by multiple pairs of eagles over time.
5 Interesting Juvenile Eagles Facts
- Eaglets have a unique vocalization that they use to beg for food from their parents. This vocalization is called “branching,” and it is a series of high-pitched, piping calls that eaglets make when they are hungry.
- Eaglets grow rapidly in the first few weeks of life and can gain up to 1 pound per week.
- Eaglets have a specialized structure in their beaks called a “tomial tooth” which helps them tear and shred meat.
- Eaglets will practice hunting skills and wing flapping while still in the nest, this helps them to develop the skills they will need to survive once they leave the nest.
- Some eaglets are larger than others, this is because eaglets are not all born at the same time, the first eaglet to hatch is usually larger than the second one, and this can give an advantage during the competition for food. The first eaglet may have a better chance of survival if food is scarce.