Posted by: rlukei | July 24, 2009

Dependent / Independent

20090724_15-11-36.jpgMy Webster’s 1956 dictionary has these word’s of wisdom

Dependent – Relying on, or subject to, something else for support

Independent – Not dependent

The most frequently asked question these days is “How much longer will we be able to see the 3 young eagles?” Well, to be honest, we are all asking that question because we are all still learning. The real question is “When will the 3 young eagles be independent?”

Well, as of about 1:45 pm today they definitely showed that they are still “dependent” on their dad for food. He brought in a fish to the nest and HE and HH (Azalea) were waiting for him. There have not been any reports from NBG staff or visitors of  seeing them catch their own food.  So, another good question is “Do they have to be “independent” before their parents leave them or they wander off on their own?” Like our human children, I suspect the answer is “it depends” on each individual and we will all have to keep watching to find out. Photo is Azalea and her sister waiting for yet another food delivery!

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Responses

Thanks for all the maps and information on young eagles and adult eagles. Norfolk nest is my first project this year and to see 3 young eagles for the first time. I am still learning. Since you mentioned about independent and dependent on young eagles. It has been mentioned on HE (Miracle for my project) and Azalea. What about HK (Joy for my project) that has not been mentioned. I supposed that he is independent now, is he?

Mr. Lukei,
My life has been enriched because of the NBG bald eagles. Thanks and blessings to ALL who make this possible (including the awesome photographers)!
This question reflects some gaps in my newly-acquired knowledge… as I follow the NBG eagle forum “daily reports” it appears to me that our Azalea has become a bit of a “bully”. Is her “aggression” typical? Will it serve her well?

Claudia – I wrote a blog a couple weeks ago about the aggressive behavior that we have seen by all 3 eagles. It is normal and necessary. They must be able to defend themselves and compete for food. But they must also know when to back-off, or risk a fight that could result in serious injury or even death. Last year I responded to a call from Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge about an adult eagle on the ground. I was able to capture the eagle. It had very serious head injuries including a puncture through its upper beak. I sent it to the Wildlife Center of Virginia where it later died from its wounds. I suspect it wandered into the territory of the nesting eagle pair at Mackay and lost the ensueing fight. It’s a tough world our 3 young eagles is about to enter!

EagleEye – HK has been a bit of a loner and has recently spent most of his time away from the immediate nest area. Yesterday he was not at the nest and I did not receive any reports of sightings from NBG staff or photographers, so I don’t know for certain if he has left the area and become “independent”. I plan to make a ground search for him in the next couple days, so check back for a report.

Thanks for your prompt answers and good information, Mr. Lukei. I understand now! I have read everything you have written, so I guess I needed to be reminded.
Looks to me like Azalea will indeed flourish, yet you’ve made me more aware of the inherent dangers our young eagles face along their journey to independence and adulthood (besides the airport!).
I live in Texas…otherwise you would have met me by now, there at NBG! :0)
…”Hey, Steve (my husband)…road trip?!”

That question of independence was really heavy on my mind yesterday (July 25) at the release of the three this year birds at Mason Neck Park. Although two seemed to be nice weight birds, one 12 pounder, Ed Clark of The Wildlife Center reminded us statistics suggested only one of the three would survive.

I’m also wondering if it may be to his advantage that HK is a bit of a loner showing less need to wait at the nest for food?

Thank you for all the informative information about the eagles. I became interested in eagles when it was discovered we had a nest in our small park. Then someone told me about the NBG site and I have been following it since last year.I don’t always get the video in but try to keep up with all the info posted.I hope all the eagles are successful and survive including the parents.I am looking forward to the next nesting season.One question I’m not certain about is,if its true the parents will chase the young eagles away from the nest.Don’t know if thats fact or fiction.This has been a great learning tool which I appreciate.
To all a big thank you for the great work you do.
I adore eagles.

Thanks Reese for the answer.

I am wondering if that what was with both girls pushing him away a lot of times. I haven’t see him like maybe for 3 weeks. I am looking forward to your report and did read your report today and will check out daily.

annsva – re your question about HK being a loner. Brings even more questions. Is it because he is the oldest? Fledged first? Is a male? Probably part of all. And again, it may just be an individual thing. Eagles may have different preferences and personalities just like we do.

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